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Code of Conduct

  • 2.88K Posts
Joined 11 months ago
Cake day: August 18th, 2023


  • I don’t have a problem with “bad language” - I think it’s entirely appropriate to say fuck sometimes. My problem with the comment is its context and its subtext. But before I unpack that, I think we should talk about something else first.

    I don’t love “fuck you.” I debated whether it was protected political speech expressing a viewpoint on the article, or a personal attack, and I couldn’t decide, so I left it up.

    Saying “fuck you” to an American cop is protected political speech, and you should expect to be protected under the First Amendment. Saying “fuck you” to a cashier at a Wendy’s is not, and there is no constitutional prohibition that will prevent you from being escorted off the premises.

    Could you speak a little more on what you mean by “protected political speech” as a criteria for moderation?

  • I do feel the community is trending towards an echo chamber. I think it is systemic, but I don’t think it’s intentional.

    There’s a version of the prisoner’s dilemma that occurs in online debates. When both people argue in good faith and listen to each other, the discussion takes the most amount of time and mental effort, but there is also a feeling that the effort was not wasted. When one person is arguing in good faith while the other is engaging with low effort or trolling, the effort put into a good faith argument feels wasted. When both participants troll each other, nobody is seriously challenged, but neither of them waste very much time or mental effort in the process either.

    This is meant to be an amoral framing of the situation. Time is limited, so time spent inventing novel arguments to convince an implacable enemy is time that could be spent doing something more effective, so trolling makes sense. Obviously when this approach is the dominant strategy in a forum, the space becomes toxic, anti-intellectual, and useless for evaluating the strength of ideas. I feel like you implicitly understand that, and are trying to create tools to make it easier to prevent that from happening.

    Your tool is based on votes. People often vote for opinions they agree with, against those that they disagree with. Sometimes they vote for well-thought out arguments, and against low effort trolling. So your algorithm basically divides people into four groups. Group one are people who have both unpopular opinions and express them in toxic and low-effort ways. They are extremely likely to be banned algorithmically because they get both kinds of downvotes.

    Group two are people who have unpopular opinions, but are good at expressing themselves in a way such that several people who don’t agree with them still value their contribution. Your algorithm is likely to allow them to participate even with the tax of downvotes they get due to the unpopularity of their views. These people also make the most valuable contribution to a forum that is based on good faith discussion and debate, because if these people leave, you are left with the last two groups - three high effort popular opinion people, and four low effort popular opinion people. A space that includes primarily groups three and four together and excludes the other two is an echo chamber.

    Group four is the problem. If they are allowed to participate in discussion without repercussions, they will eventually drive group two out, by either making them feel their time is being wasted so they leave, or by changing their strategy and joining group one. There is no simple algorithmic solution to this problem. I think your experiment has attracted a number of group two people due to the novelty of your experiment and the over-representation of anarchists on the instance you’ve chosen to host it, but they are not guaranteed to continue to participate. Lemmy.World is a pretty low bar to use as a measuring stick, but given the incentive structure at play, I think there is a real danger of falling below that standard unless the bot’s algorithmic decisions are complemented by active human moderators who dis-incentivize and weed out people from group four.

  • Is there a clear business model? It seems like the goal is to make it free for collectives and non-profit use, and then collect fees from for-profit companies. The CC-NC-SA has an obvious business case because not everyone has the capability to set up and use the software, but it’s popularity can create a secondary market for people to pay for other people to host it for them -> leading to revenue. Basically the Freeware model with the addition of the source being open. With art it creates a carve-out for copyright that allows free sharing, but once the art is used in a commercial context, the artist should get a cut of the revenue.

    But if there’s a secondary market of collectives providing that service without the need to pay, wouldn’t they out-compete a privately owned service that pays for the software? Why would a privately owned service fund a software company that doesn’t want them to exist? Likewise, why would a corporation use an artist’s work that was shared under this license?

  • I’m not a Marxist, but I know that what Marx believed changed over his lifetime, expressing new ideas in his letters while rejecting old ones, and removing and altering sections of his works in later editions. So being ‘Marxist’ doesn’t necessitate incorporating all of his ideas on authoritarianism. Typically the Marxists I meet do philosophically adapt to new information, though admittedly in many parts of the world ‘Marxist-Leninist Thought’ is a canonical set of ideas meant to be memorized from a textbook.

    people’s unwillingness to admit that the Soviet Union and CCP weren’t just “unlucky” attempts

    To claim the USSR was inevitably authoritarian ignores the nature of the revolution that created it. The Tsar was defeated by a coalition of groups, which in turn were cannibalized by the authoritarian Bolsheviks. There is no guarantee that the result of that battle royale would end with Lenin the victor. It’s an erasure of the Black Guards, the Krondstat Navy, and the Makhnovshchina to name a few.

    No-one is claiming the PRC was an “unlucky” attempt. Mao admired some aspects of anarchist thought, but he and his comrades based their revolutionary goals on the already existing Soviet state.