Tuesday, November 25, 2014

This is How Oppression Works


Hey look, more Twitter stuff! What's interesting about Twitter is, although I dislike getting pulled into arguments on that particular platform due to the fact that it's difficult to explain a position in 140 characters or less (and annoying to have to do it in more than one tweet), that same restriction can make the position of others rather revealing. Without the space to cloak a position in rhetoric, you can see it for what it really is.

Though I tried to avoid it, I did get pulled into another argument about GamerGate on Twitter. Luckily it didn't last as long as they usually do, since my "opponent" was so bluntly hypocritical and unable to defend his position. But it actually wasn't an entirely boring waste of time. He managed to be a stark example of common silencing techniques used by our oppressive systems.

He started by claiming to be the "rational," unemotional side of the argument, attempting to use the idea that I might have emotions about a hate movement to discredit me. (Note: I did not redact his name. His Twitter name right now is actually "[Redacted]".)

This proved not to be true. The moment I pointed out the cold hard fact that GamerGaters include Nazis, I got this response:

Firstly, GamerGate literally thrives on harassment, so it's pretty rich to be whining to me about hate-filled tweets and "stifling debate." Secondly, these things are supposed to be worse than being an actual literal Nazi??

But mainly, damn, that is going straight for the gut-level emotion-filled argument. "Your side has Nazis." "Well your side acts like Nazis!" I stated a fact. He stated a poorly informed opinion laced with that "bias" that they claim to hate so much that was meant to illicit an emotional response. But yeah, I'm the emotional one here.

Then when I pointed out this hypocrisy, this happened:

If you aren't aware, The Block Bot is an application you can install that works to automatically block nasty people on Twitter. It's a great tool for those who have been targeted for harassment, by which I mean are absolutely flooded with horrific tweets that make it impossible to even look at your notifications and find out if anyone's saying anything worthwhile or nice or helpful to you. Harassment like this is meant to drive people off of Twitter entirely, silencing their voice from Twitter discourse entirely. This isn't just me saying this. I've seen screenshots from 4chan and other places explicitly saying that this is the purpose of such harassment campaigns.

But using Block Bot is a Hilter-approved move, according to Mr. Feeblesoft. Using tools to block harassers so that you can actually do anything on Twitter? That's so Hitler.

So what should you do if your platform for discourse has been rendered unusable because of the daily hundreds of tweets detailing how you should be raped and murdered?

So here we are. "Avoiding discourse" by preemptively blocking Twitter accounts that do little but harass and threaten people? Hitler. Avoiding discourse by leaving the entire Internet? Totally acceptable.

Do you know why it's acceptable? Because that's exactly what they want. People like Mr. Feeblesoft want those they don't agree with to just get off the Internet so that their voices won't be heard at all, by anyone. They claim that blocking out even a single voice, no matter how abusive, and no matter the fact that said abusive voice is totally free to go on abusing others and spreading their abusive messages to everyone else, is Nazism. Yet here's this guy telling me that if I don't like abuse, my only option is to leave the platform that gives me a voice at all.

So one person ignoring another = silencing = Hitler. Being driven clear off of Twitter is not.

(There's also the point where this dude had the audacity to demand evidence that women are harassed online, ignored a simple link to a Google image page under the search term "rape threat," and then claimed to know why people used Block Bot without offering a shred of evidence. Then he tried to blame me for somehow forcing him to use conjecture. WTF?)

But the main point is, this guy isn't trying to be some champion of free and reasonable discourse. He's perfectly willing to equate simple self-care actions with Nazism and then say that the only way we're allowed to protect ourselves from harassment is to leave the area of discourse altogether. And what about the harassers themselves? What does he have to say about them?

Preventative measures like Block Bot? No, that's what Hitler would do. Just stop talking! Give in to exactly what the harassers want, and the harassment will stop! It's that simple!

Oh, and what about the harassers in my email inbox? The one I have to use for freelancing? What if that gets filled up with messages threatening me and calling me every horrible slur they can come up with?


He soon ended the shit sundae of a conversation with this little cherry:

And then he blocked me. Which by his logic, is a Nazi-like act of oppressing my freedom of speech. If he didn't like what I was saying, he should have just left Twitter behind forever.

This was basically a short version of every conversation I have with GamerGaters and anti-feminists on Twitter. "You're oppressing my free speech by criticizing me or blocking harassers! If you don't want to get harassed, just stop talking!"

Image of a woman doing a facepalm and then rubbing her temples, looking rather exhausted and annoyed

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