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Comment author: Eitan_Zohar 27 November 2014 08:32:49PM *  8 points [-]

Wow, this was an ill-conceived post. It can be said, at least, that I was an emotional wreck at the time.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 28 November 2014 03:41:29PM 0 points [-]

How does your situation look to you now?

Comment author: lfghjkl 27 November 2014 09:33:21PM 1 point [-]

Yeah, I'd say motivated thinking.

Comments like these are not helpful. Especially not on a highly politicized topic such as the one the two of you are discussing.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 27 November 2014 10:44:53PM *  0 points [-]

I don't know if it's enough to matter, but I only mentioned motivated thinking because Villiam brought up the possibility.

Comment author: TheOtherDave 27 November 2014 08:04:11PM 1 point [-]

I think in this context it refers to people who advocate for social justice.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 27 November 2014 08:44:57PM 1 point [-]

Yes, that's it-- I think SJs is more polite than SJWs (Social Justice Warriors), but I'm guessing about that.

It's a rather confused area of terminology-- there's an older use of "social justice" (note lack of capitalization) which, so far as I know, consisted of advocating for various groups, but didn't include the ideas of privilege and calling out.

Comment author: Viliam_Bur 25 November 2014 11:47:49AM *  10 points [-]

I believe that it is a factor, it is far from being the only factor, probably not even the most important one. But it points in an interesting direction.

Okay, some political stuff here, because the topic is inherently political, and I even want to go one step more meta, which is deeper in politics:

Feminists have been complaining for a long time about traditional power structures in our society. Which is a legitimate complaint in my opinion, but I disagree with their choice of the word "patriarchy", because it has the unfortunate connotation that the traditional power structures are merely about something that (all? most? some?) men do to women, and so it makes us blind about things that some women do to men to maintain the traditional power structures. Suggesting that women as a group even have some kind of social power probably already is a heresy.

The list of the techniques women are traditionally allowed to use against men is here. They are mostly ad-homined arguments that a woman (for more powerful impact: a group of young women; but also their male defenders) can use against a man who tries to step out of the line.

"You are bitter!" "You hate women!" Because everyone is already primed to see men as dangerous and hateful. "You are afraid!" "Man up!" When convenient, the stereotypes of masculinity become a useful tool to shame men. "You are immature!" Grow up!" Again a reminder of failing the traditional role. "Stop whining!" "Your fragile male ego!" People have less empathy towards men, so remind them to not expect any. "You just can't get laid!" "You probably have a small penis!" Even this kind of argument is relatively accepted against men. It doesn't prove anything, it just suggests that the man is somehow defective, therefore low-status, therefore his opinions don't matter.

Each of these critiques makes more or less sense separately, but when we take them together, it becomes apparent that as a set they can be used in any situation. A man can be shamed for following his traditional gender role and for deviating from it. Maybe even both at the same time. Neither power nor weakness is acceptable. Perhaps, as a rule of thumb, a man should follow all his traditional obligations (get a job, make a lot of money, move all the heavy objects) but should not expect any traditional advantages (because that would be sexist). Even having a hobby is suspicious, unless the man can explain how the hobby will help him make more money in the future. In our culture, men have instrumental value; only women have terminal value. (Unless the man is really high-status, in which case different rules apply.)

So, in a way, if feminists complain about the traditional gender roles, they should celebrate gamers as allies, because those break the male stereotypes, and they do it on their own, no education or propaganda or change of laws necessary. But of course there is a difference between being a feminist in a sense "trying to change the traditional power structures (patriarchy)" and in a sense "cheering for the 'team women'". It's situations like this when the difference becomes visible; when weakening "patriarchy" also removes some systemic power from the "team women".

Equality comes at a price. The price is that you don't have servants anymore. If you complain about it, you probably didn't want equality in the near mode, only as a far-mode slogan.

From a proper point of view, gamers' resistance towards patriarchal shaming technuiques is an important victory of feminism. However, I would not be surprised if most self-identified feminists don't get it.

What can these young women really do to these guys to punish them - withhold sex?

And what about women in gaming? Or gays, or asexuals? (Or course the official party line is that they don't exist.) All these people are now considered equal and respected members of the society... which includes the right to not give a fuck about what some young ladies are telling them to do.

Again, the true equality works both ways.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 27 November 2014 04:14:53PM 0 points [-]

At least some of the attacks you describe are used against women as well-- in particular the "grow up" or "be tougher because our project is more important than your emotions" range. I'm not sure it's all as gendered as you think.

This being said, there are gendered insults (notably small penis,neckbeard, and sausage fest) that are common among feminists. I've seen some feminists argue against the first two, but not the third.

I'm wondering whether it makes sense to try to keep your opponents' identity small, and not modelling a large number of people as one big person with a unified agenda.

Comment author: MrMind 27 November 2014 08:05:38AM 2 points [-]

Yeah, I was thinking about similar themes some days ago. My reference was Galois, a very young genius of the field. After single-handedly inventing group theory, he died. At 20. In a duel. Over a girl (allegedly).

Or Ramanujan. Died because he refused to eat healthily.

There are many examples of geniuses that died early, and had not the time to contribute much more to humanity, usually over silly things.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 27 November 2014 04:06:15PM *  1 point [-]

Ramanujan died as the result of compulsive behavior from two cultures. He was (so far as I know) doing alright until WWI happened.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 26 November 2014 02:48:16PM -1 points [-]

Yeah, I'd say motivated thinking.

Not all forms of threatening are equal, but "I'm having extremely violent fantasies about you and I know where you (and your children) live" isn't a tiny thing, and it goes rather beyond "I hope you die". (Is there a name for the rhetorical trick of choosing, not just a non-central example, but a minimized non-central example?)

Part of the point is that women are sometimes the target of harassment campaigns online. Some of the attackers may have an interest in the ostensible issue, some may be pure trolls. It seems as though a lot of the attackers are male.

I doubt that there are a number of women who left their homes because of nothing in particular.

When I mentioned above that people underestimate the effect of the worst people on their own side, I meant that just as I tend to underestimate the way feminism can add up, I think you're underestimating the number and forcefulness of the vicious people on your side.

I'm still incredibly angry at the way Kathy Sierra was driven out of public life.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 27 November 2014 04:00:22PM 1 point [-]

I'm curious about why this comment got so many downvotes, if anyone would care to try explaining. I'm saying "try explaining" because any one person can only know the reason for at most one downvote.

Comment author: elharo 27 November 2014 02:43:18PM 2 points [-]

This strikes me as a common failing of rationality. Personally I've never really noticed it in politics though. People arguing politics from all corners of the spectrum usually know exactly what they want to happen instead, and will advocate for it in great detail.

However, in science it is extremely common for known broken theories to be espoused and taught because there's nothing (yet) better. There are many examples from the late 19th/early 20th centuries before quantum mechanics was figured out. For example, the prevailing theory of how the sun worked used a model of gravitational contraction that simply could not have powered the sun for anything like the known age of the earth. That model wasn't really discarded until the 1920s and 30s when Gamow and Teller figured out the nuclear reactions that really did power the sun.

There are many examples today, in many fields, where the existing model simply cannot be accurate. Yet until a better model comes along scientists are loath to discard it.

This irrationality, this unwillingness to listen to someone who says "This idea is wrong" unless they can also say "and this alternative idea is right" is a major theme of Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 27 November 2014 03:43:32PM 1 point [-]

I've asked SJs whether there was ever a time in their lives when they thought they were in a group that was satisfyingly inclusive, whether there was some experience they were trying to make more common. Admittedly, I only asked a few people (and with tact set on maximum). The only answer I got was no.

It's possible I was overgeneralizing in several ways, but I was asking because it seemed to me that what I'd read of anti-racism had a tone of "something hurts, it's urgent to stop the pain", but there was no positive vision.

This might have something to do with political (and maybe even choices inside businesses) which actually make life better vs. those that don't. There's always some sort of vision, but maybe there are issues related not just to whether pieces of the vision are accurate, but whether it's clear enough in appropriate ways. For example, was part of the problem with centralized economies that no one had a clear idea of how information would get transmitted? (This is a real question.)

Comment author: Viliam_Bur 26 November 2014 05:13:59PM *  3 points [-]

Would this qualify as a sufficiently scary threat? Both men and women receive various kinds of abuse online. I would guess that most of the aggressors are men, but victims are of both genders. Being a victim of online harrassment is not a uniquely female experience, although some specific forms of harrassment may be, mostly of sexual kind. I would also guess that victims of "swatting" are typically men, but I have no data about it.

Now I feel it would be good to split the debate into two completely separated topics: feminism and GamerGate. Debating them as if they are the same thing would make this all extremely confusing. Framing GamerGate as "angry white men against feminists" is merely a propaganda of one side; in reality, both sides include angry white men, and both sides include feminists.

1) I believe I have read a few stories about violent behavior of feminists, but I usually don't keep records of things I read online. If my memory is reliable, the complaints about abuse from feminists usually came from LGBT people, although officially the feminists are supposed to be on their side. Googling for "violent feminists" mostly brings false positives, but also this.

I admit I am confused about the phenomenon of online SJWs. Are they supposed to be a part of feminism, or is that a separate thing? Because their opinions seem similar to some extreme feminist opinions. Seems to me these people do a lot of online harrassment, although on internet it is difficult to prove something isn't merely trolling. And generally, even if someone is a feminist, that doesn't mean that everything they do is done in the name of feminism.

2) Here is a collection of abuse towards pro-Gamergate people. Again, it's difficult to prove who did that. We would have to debate each piece of evidence individually, but I'd rather avoid that.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 26 November 2014 06:20:52PM 1 point [-]

That first link strikes me as not extremely scary, and it seems to be a rant rather than a threat which was sent to someone in particular. Furthermore, it doesn't have specific details about injuries and degradation. It isn't a photoshopped image of the person being threatened, either.

Gamergate is hopelessly weird-- as you may know, the initial post was basically a man talking about having been emotionally abused by a woman, with only a minor mention of games and journalism, and it morphed into something completely different.

As far as I can tell, SJWs consider themselves to be part of feminism and/or the one true feminism. I haven't seen a claim anywhere that they aren't feminists, and at least one suggestion that there's no point is saying that they aren't feminists, even if they're wrong-headed.

It wouldn't surprise me if a lot of moderate feminists (like most people) aren't engaging with SJs because that looks like a lot of work and no fun.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 26 November 2014 05:08:47PM 7 points [-]

We should be wary of political vapourware. If somebody’s alternative to the status quo is nothing, or at least nothing very specific, then what are they even talking about? They are hawking political vapourware, giving a “sales pitch” for something that doesn’t even exist.

Everything Is Problematic, an account of getting out of radical left wing politics.

Comment author: Viliam_Bur 26 November 2014 11:25:36AM *  7 points [-]

I'm at a huge risk of motivated thinking here, but I want to make a few points:

1) Not all forms of "threatening" are equal. For example killing someone's dog is much worse than sending someone a tweet "i hope you die". If we put these things in the same category, by such metric the latest tumblr debate may seem more violent than WW2. Also, the threats of blacklisting in an industry seem to me less serious, but also more credible than the threats of physical violence.

2) We have selective reporting here, often without verification. Journalists have a natural advantage at presenting their points of view in journals. Also, one side makes harrassment their central topic (and sometimes a source of income), while for the other side complaining about being harrassed is tangential to their goals. I haven't examimed the evidence, but seems to me there are almost no cases, on either side, where the threat is (a) documented, and (b) credibly linked to the opposing side, as opposed to a random troll, or some other unrelated conflict.

3) Lest we forget the parallel NotYourShield campaign, threats against gamers and game developers are technically also threats against women, and there are quite possibly more women in gamergate than in gaming journalism. Women are women even when they are not marching under the banner of feminism.

Comment author: NancyLebovitz 26 November 2014 02:48:16PM -1 points [-]

Yeah, I'd say motivated thinking.

Not all forms of threatening are equal, but "I'm having extremely violent fantasies about you and I know where you (and your children) live" isn't a tiny thing, and it goes rather beyond "I hope you die". (Is there a name for the rhetorical trick of choosing, not just a non-central example, but a minimized non-central example?)

Part of the point is that women are sometimes the target of harassment campaigns online. Some of the attackers may have an interest in the ostensible issue, some may be pure trolls. It seems as though a lot of the attackers are male.

I doubt that there are a number of women who left their homes because of nothing in particular.

When I mentioned above that people underestimate the effect of the worst people on their own side, I meant that just as I tend to underestimate the way feminism can add up, I think you're underestimating the number and forcefulness of the vicious people on your side.

I'm still incredibly angry at the way Kathy Sierra was driven out of public life.

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