There is a general tendency on the internet that any forum that promotes free speech and only moderates spam and illegal posts, but does not remove posts based on their content, becomes majority right wing after some time. There are left-wing forums with censorship, and there are right-wing forums with censorship, of course. But if you let people discuss their ideas freely without interference, the mostly tend to become right-wing. It seems that without censorship and content-based moderation artificially steering discussion left-wing ideas cannot exist.
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Ignoring the vagueness of the non-terms “left wing” and “right wing”, and the baseless assertions, the bottom line is that liberalism is mainstream, and large parts of the further “left” and “right” (like socialism, anarchism, nationalism, US-libertarianism) retreat to their own communities.
Who has a need for ‘free speech and no censorship’ places?
I think it’s safe to assert that right-wing ideologies (extreme personal freedoms, or freedoms to kill unwanted peoples) tend to fit this description more. Unless someone has very unusual left-wing views, they will probably be able to find a popular place that allows them to express all the view they want to, and few will see a reason to hang around a place that is dominated by not just right-wing refugees, but the ones two noxious to be permitted in other designated right-wing forums. Why would they stick around? Hence, they are dominated by right-wing views: the further left or moderates will find constant rants about excluding races or sexuality just annoying and go back to their more pleasant forums.
What is the logical conclusion of your post? Are you implying that if the admin and mods here are extremely permissive, that socialist ideas just can’t exist? Or maybe are you implying that places like KiwiFarms are dominated by the right-wing because of reasoned ideological debate and not just edginess attracting like-minded people and revolting left-wing people more likely to be disgusted by the site topic and owner?
Three questions for you:
I don’t think that’s really true unless you very broadly define right wing, and very narrowly define left wing.
The Establishment has done a fantastic job of co-opting movements such that you can have someone who is anti-censorship, anti-corporate power, anti-corporation, borderline anti-capitalist, and yet they’re considered far right.
I guess under that rubric, yeah I guess eventually everyone kind of agrees that we shouldn’t be blindly following the establishment, and that’s far right.
Thing is, in most of the ways that matter I think a lot of people painted with that right-wing brush are in fact left wing. Sure, maybe they’re not part of the institutional left, but if you talk to these people they all think that major sweeping changes need to be taking place to our institutions. They think that there’s corruption, that there’s greed, that oligarchs and long entrenched powers are taking the power away from the people and giving it to themselves. That doesn’t sound right wing to me, if you define right wing as keeping the status quo, keeping things the way they are, not advocating for dramatic changes in a New direction.
It’s like when the trucker protests happened. People were calling that right wing, which was insane to me. You had labor organizing, and yes they weren’t organizing under the banner of a union, but they were organizing in order to protest massive Powers being handed to corporate oligarchs. And you had the institutional left and all of their cronies cheering for their bank accounts being frozen, and if you want to tell me that that’s far right I’m going to have to disagree every day of the week.
Its important to first set out what we mean by “right-wing” or “left-wing.” I’m sure there’s a more philosophically enriched understanding of these two terms that has them refer to cohesive, dynamic world-views, but I’ll just begin with a provisional, empirical understanding of these terms as signifiers that merely track a difference in priorities in the context of moral foundations theory (wherein left-wing is higher in care & fairness, and right-wing is higher in loyalty & sanctity, and the values of liberty & authority vary independently within each wing), or a difference in cognitive style (wherein the left-wing involves more divergent, “innovative” thinking and the right-wing involves more convergent, adaptive thinking).
That aside, it is definitely tempting to think that fora that moderate only based on form rather than content lead to predominantly right-leaning culture, given that (α) the right-wing has crafted to some success a culture war narrative that substitutes other political debates with a battle over the dissemination of information (framed in terms of free speech v. censorship), and (β) many fora have in fact clamped down on some content creators that are right-wing, pushing their audience to other platforms/fora, and (γ) there has been a popularly observed growth in online left-wing content creators both in number and in terms of audience support following the aforementioned clamp-down.
However, we should look before we jump. There are a few blind jumps in your argument. While ɑ, β and γ are certainly things that have occurred (maybe one could quibble on the details), by themselves they do not imply that the propagation of left-wing ideas depends on β being true. The successful propagation of left-wing ideas and the censorship of right-wing ideas could be two phenomena that actually lack any causal relationship and may not even correlate long-term, or they could be correlated but both be explained by a third variable (or more), i.e. both caused by a third factor (or more). In the former case, where the two phenomena are causally and perhaps even statistically unrelated, consider that historically there have been moments when it is in fact the left-wing that has ridden on free speech concerns. In particular, we see this in the United States circa 1960s with the Free Speech Movement, which was comprised of many activists and students of the New Left with connections to the Civil Rights Movement and the Anti- Vietnam War Movement. If the left-wing can be ascendant while supporting free speech, this at a bare minimum suggests that free speech is not inherently in conflict with left-wing ideas being popular. A corollary of this is that right-wing ideas are not an inherent consequence of an expansive concept of free speech.
Of course, your claim is more specific to internet media and web communications, and it also defines “free speech” in an expansive way that may not have been shared by the 60s FSM (this would require a more detailed exposition of the ideas of the FSM). Maybe it is disingenuous to use the 60’s FSM as a counterexample to the claim that left-wing ideas require speech restrictions based on content in order to thrive. The internet introduces new conditions for speech that lead to quicker higher volume propagation of speech as a default compared to previous telecommunications. Maybe the left-wing was able to promote free speech while having their ideas thrive in the case of the FSM because they were in an academic setting, which gives their ideas popular respectability, and common but popular ideas propagated less widely compared to those emanating from a university setting. That is, academia’s communication with the public was ahead of any average person’s communications with the public at the time, while this disparity has now been flattened by the growth of the internet. Further, one could claim the expansive standard you mentioned for free speech might be crucial to the undermining of left-wing ideas. Any other standards may have varied results.
But, to the contrary, there’s reasons to be skeptical that academic privileges offset what would have been, according to your hypothesis, deleterious effects of free speech on agreement with left-wing ideas. Academia is right now not only more left than the general populace, at least in terms of self-identification and intellectual tastes, but more left than it even was in the 60s which is when the New Left FSM was active. In fact, it is telling that, if the FSM fought for legitimate free speech, there was tremendous political shift in the university system in the long-run after they fought for it (this doesn’t mean there are 0 bias issues in higher education, but that is a different issue from speech restrictions, and again, a leftward bias would have been comparatively less of a case in the 60s then under the assumption that parity in political affiliations in universities is a sign of reduced bias). This also means that, at the time of the FSM, it was entirely possible for left-wing ideas to get significant pushback initially–in fact, if they were fighting for legitimate free speech, left-wing ideas were guaranteed significant pushback, especially initially (there are different opinions of how things have developed since then in regards to campus speech). And yet, both the FSM’s idea of free speech and their New Left politics seemed to succeed. A hypothesis of academic privileges, let alone left-wing academic hegemony, is not enough to explain this–in fact, it can’t, because the growth of left-wing academia is closer to precisely being what followed FSM’s free speech push. Consequently, “flattening” of the communications disparity between university and the average joe is unnecessary to explaining online right-wing resurgence in free speech spaces, as it should have, according to the hypothesis, already been underway with the rise of the FSM (yet wasn’t). This is not to say that contemporary social media has had no effect on the popularity of right-wing content, or that right-wing views have not significantly impacted a portion of the most recent generations. It is only to say that right-wing resurgence from free speech spaces is not explained by the flattening hypothesis, and would seem an anomaly.
As for the notion that your standard of restricting speech based not on content but other considerations is crucial to the success of right-wing views, or the failure of left-wing ones, I should point out that shifts in politeness norms in a culture can follow shifts in social attitudes that correlate with political affiliation, or can follow shifts in social attitudes that reflect movement of the Overton window. These social attitudes are politically informed, but they need not be politically exclusionary. This is because the norms resultant from these attitudes may be followed based on deference to society and the need for social cohesion, without conformity to them at all restricting the ability to articulate ideological commitments that conflict with what those norms seek to protect. Thereby not inherently leading to restriction of speech based on content. Yet because those norms may nonetheless be politically informed, you get high reactance from older age cohorts or older generations, and even more strongly from those of those cohorts/those generations who have right-wing views. This is often connected with an experience of relative deprivation resulting from the new social expectations. This high reactance leads to behaviors that violate or resist those norms, which then leads to those people being publicly shunned. Therefore, it is entirely possible that censorship of right-wingers not be based on their political identification or the content of what they are saying but on correlated speech acts (so, more-so the way they are speaking or what they are doing with their speech) that violate politeness norms, leading to right-wingers being more negatively affected by those new norms. (I think a great example of a norm that fits what I’m talking about is that of using a person’s preferred pronouns or not devaluing someone’s marriage.)
Even in cases where speech may have been restricted based on its political content, if it is occurring on private fora or private platforms, it is likely a matter of those private entities attempting to approach speech restrictions strategically, with public relations in mind. This means, though, that there are other factors which are favoring left-wing ideas in a way that precedes these intra-platform / intra- forum speech restrictions. A shift in the kinds of speech that are restricted may just as well be a consequence of any given set of ideas getting popular or at least hegemonic (inspiring confidence in the more pro- restriction holders of those ideas), rather than an antecedent for the popularity or hegemony of those ideas. Which is to say that those ideas could be perfectly able to succeed in public environments more lax about speech, even if they go on to introduce new speech standards, particularly in private spaces.
Again, at best, I think either you have cause and effect backwards here or you’re missing a third factor or more that can explain the preponderance of right-wing content in fora / platforms with more expansive free speech policy. The idea that the survival of left-wing ideas depends on speech restrictions is a rather questionable explanation for this.
I think you could translate this to: “forums that don’t moderate toxic content frequently devolve into alt-right cesspools”
“free speech” is a red-herring, nobody actually wants totally free speech. When you say “only moderates spam and illegal posts” you’re admitting that these forums don’t have absolute free speech. What you’re really saying is “sites that cater to the alt-right tend to become alt-right”. Thats not much of an argument.
Here you say “mostly” where the title you say “inevitably”. these are not the same arguments. You should cite some sources because you could be suffering from confirmation bias.
I mean, what even is the alt-right?
As far as I can tell it’s just a carry-all slur for anybody who disagrees with whatever the corporate establishment media has told us is important this week.
It’s a little bit sad, but seems like the smartest thing that those who absolutely refuse to allow any changes to the status quo ever did was enlist a bunch of people who lack critical thinking skills into an army of pro-establishment hacks who somehow think that they’re “fighting the power” by standing up for the rights of Coca-Cola or general electric.
They’re only cesspools to you, because people with different opinions than you are free to voice them. This suggests that you only really want to read stuff that you already agree with.
My point is that there are no bastions of free speech, you just think there are because they host the things you want to hear.
That’s a common piece of misinformation that tries to make it seem as though everyone is as biased as those who employ censorship, which is not true. I have been a part of communities with incredible diversity of opinions where the only moderation was removing automated spam and other destructive participants. No, that does not mean censorship, because they never deleted posts because of opinions or facts they presented. It really is possible to have discussion forums with free speech, although many that attempt are relentlessly attacked on all possible fronts until they cave in and start censoring.
One mans “destructive participant” is another mans truthsayer
No, not really, that’s just another lie. There is no “truthsaying” in automated spam advertising herbal viagra, that’s something devoid of content. It’s absurd to claim that constitutes censorship and you’re doing this only to attempt to classify everyone as employing censorship, which is disingenuous of you.
show me the forum with free speech
Kiwifarms is a very biased case. It’s based, at the start, about harassing ‘lolcows’ for kicks (usually people with learning disabilities like Chris-Chan). Furthermore, it is often seen as a haven for people who get banned from other more moderate sites.
Would you agree that this inherently attracts a more edgy and “right-wing” audience?
Wow, that’s quite the bastion of free speech. I bet if someone doxxed the owner the thread would get deleted lol
The founder of the forum is Joshua Moon, his details are public. Slander on Wikipedia has nothing to do with whether or not it has freedom of speech, which it does, Josh is a free speech fundamentalist. There is no doxxing on the forum, the members republish already publicly available information.
They only remove content when absolutely legally required and forced to by law: https://kiwifarms.net/help/removing-content/ The founder went to court with numerous people to defend the right to free speech of members, and has won every time. In advance of your predictable claim that this constitutes censorship, in no way can complying only with the strictest legal demands be possibly construed as such in any meaning of the word. Again, no content is ever deleted for stating opinions or facts of any kind, and the owner of the forum goes to ridiculous lengths to protect that right. You will not find anyone more dedicated to this ideal. This is in stark contrast to forums such as reddit or facebook that employ far reaching and extensive lists of allowed and disallowed content effectively stifling any serious discussion of any topic and allowing only advertiser-friendly content.
Reddit was a free speech forum until like 2014ish. While some free speech forums do turn into Alt-right cess pools every highly censored forum ive seen turns into alt-left cess pools.
Some of the best examples of heavily censored and thus unusable forums include resetera, most of the modern reddit, and rpgwatch.
It’s so frustration to have any conversation when 2/3rds of the human race isn’t allowed to speak. Especially when you ban certain words and ideologies.
Simple examples is saying that marriage is between one man and one women is banned across the internet but is a belief shared by nearly all religious Christians, Jews, Muslims.
By banning that belief you are being Islamophobic, christian phobic, antisemitic.
By forcing pronoun usage its religious discrimination.
No one should have a right not to be offended.
Being offensive is how we test new ideas.
The fediverse does offer a unique way to give everyone a voice. People i’m not super comfortable hosting can host their own instance.
Free speech does need a diversity of voices to be valuable. Right now we are the top of the bell curve in censorship.
Everyone is abandoning censored platforms. So free speech platforms are getting better and less fringe.
We should balance out at a lower point of censorship after a few years.
Telling other people that they should be subject to your religion is typically perceived as a “dick move”. If you’re getting banned for saying that, it’s not because of your belief, but on your insistence that other people conform to your religion?
I agree, but additionally, no-one has a right to participate in any forum.
being offensive is a great way to bet banned from a forum.
Also, ironically, most people that suggest “marriage should be between a man and a woman”, do so because it offends their religion. It is precisely that, because no one has the right to not be offended, that it makes no sense for marriage to have be between a man and a woman.
so obviously we need to be able to say the n-word on reddit /s
“free speech” doesn’t exist, it’s just another phrase for “stuff I like to hear”. Every forum has rules, and you need to speak appropriately according to them.
This is just something you made up to falsely equate forums with heavy censorship and ones with no censorship at all.
No, it isn’t. there is stuff that’s not allowed in any forum.
And this proves my opening statement that left-wing ideas cannot exist without heavy censorship and control of ideas that are allowed to disseminate. Your “offense” just means you can’t handle some ways of thinking. Btw, most of the world is religious, wanting to express your religion and have it properly respected is normal.
Your are just making up non existing examples.
Calling someone a dick for having a religious view is a dick move.
People ban Christians/Jews for saying marriage should be between a man and a women and it should. And that’s a normal OK opinion to have.
You can nicely express a view and still be banned.
Reaching for extremes because you don’t have an argument.
That is reddits definition. We can certainly have free’er speech than banning doctors for disagreeing with Big Pharma.
This is a perfect example. Here’s what I said
How did you conflate “having a belief” with “telling others to follow your belief”? surely you understand those are two different things right?
It seems a probable explanation for you having seen people getting banned for “having beliefs”, is because you’ve seen people getting banned for telling others to follow their beliefs and just conflated them.
That statement can easily be perceived as a suggestion about what other people should do, and not about ones personal beliefs.
I never did, you did. I said stating a belief and you said it was a dick move to tell others to follow the belief. You changed the words and escalated to insults. I kept my original meaning.
You can’t fix incorrect perceptions by deleting comments. Hence the original problem.
No I did not. I just said telling other people what to do is a “dick move”. Unless your identity revolves around telling other people what to do, this is not an insult. I’m explaining why your seeing comments like “marriage should be between a man and a women” get deleted.
There is nothing “incorrect” about that perception. Controlling others is exactly what most people who say that are trying to do, and you cant stop that.
I don’t think you have interpreted a single one of my sentences correctly.
And you’ve just made up several non existing scenarios to argue against points no one made.
I’ll bow out if this one.
I’m sorry you feel this way
Anyone on tv or in congress who says “marriage should be between a man and a woman” is saying that “gay marriage should be illegal”. you cannot possibly believe this is a fictitious scenario.
You can moderate some communities and others can be less moderated. Some people like cess pools.