Aug. 17th, 2013

pktechgirlbackup: (pktechgirl)
Commitment to free speech is measured by tolerance for speech you don't like. Otherwise, you're making a merits based argument. That is why I respect reddit's reluctance to shut down even really vile subreddits, like /r/jailbait (sexual photos of 16 and 17 year olds, culled from the girls' own social media pages) and /r/creepshots (surreptitiously taken photo of adult women in taken in public, including but not limited to upskirts). I don't like these forums existing, but as long a the law protects them, it will protect unpopular things I care about too.

Violentacrez, the founder of /r/jailbait and rescuer of /r/creepshot was recently* outed. And if those were his only crimes, that would make me really uncomfortable, because there are legitimate uses for anonymity, not everyone agrees that they are legitimate, and I want the cultural norm to support anonymity as part of supporting free speech.* But violentacrez did not limit himself to providing immoral jerkoff material: he founded a number of subreddits, including /r/chokeabitch, /r/rapebait, and /r/niggerjailbait, explicitly for the purpose of pissing people off.

This strikes me as different, and not worthy of protection. Deliberately pissing people off is a violation of a social contact. One with fewer consequences than upskirts, but specifically targeted at the same norms that support anonymity. Deliberately pissing people off is the opposite of supporting free exchange of ideas. Moreover, it punctures the argument that you need to protect this ugly speech in order to protect good speech. He can't argue "this doesn't affect anyone else" because that's the goal, and he can't argue "I'm advocating for political change that I would face persecution for" (which, yes, would protect speech by NAMBLA, although of course not actions). He just wants to piss people off.

So that's one violation of the social contract. But there's something more than that. I've played D&D games where the GM would let players decide whether or not their character was killable- some people got attached and found death disruptive, others enjoyed the risk. The one time we had PVP, it was between a killable and unkillable player, and the unkillable player temporarily flipped her kill switch because otherwise it was just unfair. This guy is trying to hurt people without taking damage in return. If he cared about the topic you could "win" by arguing with facts. If he wanted to do his thing without interference he would not deliberately attract attention. But there is no inalienable right sniping.

*relative to when I wrote this, which was months ago.

*For example, gay, kinky, or poly people may wish to be able to look for partners, or advocate for their right to do the same, without their families or jobs finding out. I think this is a legitimate use of anonymity even though it could be trivialized "just sex".


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