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10 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

It's not fundamental. Our current election process wasn't even the original one. I think you can have valid criticisms of it and reject it as a proper way to select a president. 

I don't think we need to get into the details of that specific case because I'm not trying to use it as an example to induce what the principles are. I'm assuming you agree that fundamentally questioning the very legitimacy of the functions of government is subversive? If so, do you think that can serve as a morally legitimate basis to moderate/control speech on private property? Or if you want to set the context about the size of the platform, what basis do you use to decide if you are morally crossing the line - would it be morally wrong for me to do it on my own mailing list, or would it be wrong if I owned Facebook? If there's a difference, what is the difference?

 

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7 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

I'm assuming you agree that fundamentally questioning the very legitimacy of the functions of government is subversive?

Yes, but that's not what they're doing. They're questioning the integrity of the functioning of government. They're saying there was corruption and the election was stolen. That's different from, say, memeing "not my president" during Trump and holding Not My Presidents Day rallies.

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5 hours ago, tadmjones said:

There may have not been a 'law on the books' that explicitly prohibited the use of drop boxes, but election law isn't based on the idea that all things are legal as long as it is not explicitly prohibited, election law and procedures for conducting elections is established by the state legislature. A dissenting opinion in the case references the difference between establishing law and procedures and the role of the Wisconsin Election Comm in following the state's laws and procedures , as opposed to the idea that the WEC may set procedures.

Okay, let's go with what you got there:

The the problem is that the court was corrupt or did not follow procedure?

You describe a decention, as in the procedure was followed and they voted and there was a decention.

You see at some point, you have to make the case that the system did not follow the rules established. And "the system" is going to have to be "the whole system". In this case you have to show that the court was corrupt in a sense.

But again, regarding massive fraud, Wisconsin and (let's include) Pennsylvania could have gone to Trump and he still would have lost. It would have to be more massive than that.

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30 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

I'm assuming you agree that fundamentally questioning the very legitimacy of the functions of government is subversive? If so, do you think that can serve as a morally legitimate basis to moderate/control speech on private property?

No, the basis is your personal values. Do you value such subversive talk or not? Is it good or bad for you personally? It's your property, you decide what you want to allow based on your objective assessment of the facts as they relate to your life and purpose.

36 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

Or if you want to set the context about the size of the platform, what basis do you use to decide if you are morally crossing the line

I don't think the platform's size matters. You're crossing the line if what you're doing harms your own life--or, in the case of a corporation, harms the corporation.

41 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

would it be morally wrong for me to do it on my own mailing list, or would it be wrong if I owned Facebook? If there's a difference, what is the difference?

Again, that depends on whether it harms you or Facebook, in which case the difference is between an individual and a corporation.

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31 minutes ago, MisterSwig said:

Yes, but that's not what they're doing.

That's fine, I don't care to argue about right now who is right. I'd rather disagree about it and move back to the main topic. 

9 minutes ago, MisterSwig said:

No, the basis is your personal values.

Isn't the whole point that these companies are not committing anything that's a violation of rights, but they are not being moral in the way they do it? So I'm looking for a principle to judge when it is and when it is not appropriate to moderate the speech of others. Of course the basis should be your personal values, so what standard of speech should we have morally speaking? I introduced the idea that it depends on the size of the platform, but we should still look for a principle underneath it all.

13 minutes ago, MisterSwig said:

I don't think the platform's size matters. You're crossing the line if what you're doing harms your own life--or, in the case of a corporation, harms the corporation.

What is that line? That's what I'm asking. If I'm making a platform, what standards should I use for deciding to ban someone or not, or delete a post of theirs?

15 minutes ago, MisterSwig said:

Again, that depends on whether it harms you or Facebook, in which case the difference is between an individual and a corporation.

I don't think I need to explain that this is what it means to ask if something is moral under Objectivism. I don't need to preface every question about morality with "does it harm your life?" The reason I post here is because I don't have to explain that every time.

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22 hours ago, Eiuol said:

I have no idea why they would allow that Manson video, it's the best explanation I have.

Maybe because it's considered art? I don't think I'll watch the video. I like some of the early music (not composed by Manson but by his bandmates), but I'm not really into his visual imagery or lyrics.

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19 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

If I'm making a platform, what standards should I use for deciding to ban someone or not, or delete a post of theirs?

What sort of platform is it? What is your purpose in creating it? If you want to build a discussion forum devoted to foodies, you might restrict the chat to food-related topics and ban anyone who keeps ranting about Biden's verbal gaffes. But if you want to build a video hosting site devoted to other people's content, maybe you don't want to censor or ban them for expressing personal opinions that you don't like, especially if you call your platform "YouTube." It's disingenuous.

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2 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

If I'm making a platform, what standards should I use for deciding to ban someone or not, or delete a post of theirs?

To my mind, a platform is something different from, say, a magazine.

If you have a set of ideas that you would like to promote, a magazine is more appropriate: you can solicit submissions (either from the general public or only from specific people), evaluate them, and publish only the ones you like. You can also write stuff yourself and publish it in your magazine. I suppose two examples would be Marc Da Cunha running Capitalism Magazine, and Craig Biddle running The Objective Standard.

When you decide to create a platform instead, you are creating something different. It's the Internet equivalent of opening a bar or a speakeasy, where people can come and talk with other people, and all you do is provide the facility. While you might advertise an affiliation with certain ideas in the hope of attracting people who want to talk about those ideas, you can't really control the details of what they say. If you want that level of control, then you need to run a magazine instead.

Sometimes when you run a bar or a speakeasy, some people can get rowdy and disruptive, or do inappropriate things, and it's proper in those cases to ask them to leave. If people are disruptive repeatedly, they can even be asked to leave permanently.

However, I think it would be inappropriate for the owner of a bar to listen in to people's conversations and kick out well-behaved people merely because, as the owner, he doesn't like or agree with what they are taking about. The bar owner is within his rights -- it's his bar, after all -- but I wouldn't want to go to a bar like that.

(What would you think of an auditorium owner inviting a bunch of people over for a "debate" with him, and then when they start to win the argument against him, using logic and evidence, he asks them to leave? ...)

I also think it would be inappropriate for the phone company to listen in on people's calls and cancel their service if they say anything the phone company disapproves of. The company may be within their rights, but it's doesn't seem to be a good thing to do.

I think the law should (and sometimes does) recognize that, by default, the person who visits a bar or a (legal) speakeasy, or who uses a telephone, has a right to expect that he or other people would not be kicked out or disconnected because of his or their expressed views -- and on the other hand, the bar or speakeasy owner, or phone company, wouldn't be liable for what his customers say. This is why such things as "common carrier status" are supposed to exist.

It is common for laws to recognize that certain situations are commonly assumed by default. You are still free to run things in the non-default way, but you would have to inform people if you are doing so. (To do otherwise could be interpreted as fraud.)

An example of such default assumptions is weights and measures: if two people enter into a contract, and the contract specifies "kilograms," they have to agree on what a kilogram is. If the contract doesn't specify otherwise, then it can be assumed that the standard kilogram is being used.

There are other examples, though, including, for example, if someone buys food, it should be safe to assume that the food is safe to eat, or that if it's unsafe, both parties to the contract know about that characteristic and agree to it.

If you run the sort of bar that kicks people out for enunciating certain views, then you'd probably have to post a sign so that people know that, and what the objectionable views are, before they come in.

Ideally, if you choose to exercise editorial control over what people say, then you also assume liability for it, but if you don't exercise the control, you shouldn't have the liability. I think that's what Section 230 was supposed to do, but apparently it isn't working right, because there are now too many companies who are exercising editorial control while claiming that they are absolved from any liability for that control.

So what standards should you use to ban someone or delete a post? Do it only if they are making the service unusable (the way rowdy people fighting in a bar would make it unusable for the regular customers).

If you want editorial control, start a magazine.

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2 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

Okay, let's go with what you got there:

The the problem is that the court was corrupt or did not follow procedure?

You describe a decention, as in the procedure was followed and they voted and there was a decention.

You see at some point, you have to make the case that the system did not follow the rules established. And "the system" is going to have to be "the whole system". In this case you have to show that the court was corrupt in a sense.

But again, regarding massive fraud, Wisconsin and (let's include) Pennsylvania could have gone to Trump and he still would have lost. It would have to be more massive than that.

The 'system' in this sense would be the election procedures ; extended mail in ballot, signature/id exemptions, improper chain of custody,  ect, all procedures that fail the test for constitutional legitimacy.

In Wisconsin one of the justices, during the hearing, referred to Trump as 'your boy the racist'( not verbatim but close), as far as corruption , that statement alone is blatantly prejudicial, especially coming from a justice.

And as to massive, some of the contested results were in states that the margin of Biden's 'victory' is only a percentage of the amount of questionable votes/ballots. Were any cases thrown out on merit? I think they were all dismissed on procedural findings .

 

 

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4 minutes ago, tadmjones said:

And as to massive, some of the contested results were in states that the margin of Biden's 'victory' is only a percentage of the amount of questionable votes/ballots. Were any cases thrown out on merit? I think they were all dismissed on procedural findings .

Then you have to attack the court system, as it is in fact part of the whole "election" system. They are the arbitrators. Did they in fact do something that is illegal?

Otherwise, you'd be arguing against an advantage, a legal (vs. illegal) advantage that one group has over another. Many complain that one side spends more money. It does not make an election invalid or "stolen", although it may be unfair. The next time around one has to counter the advantage. Simply repeating "it was stolen" simply divides the Republicans and they will lose the sliver of votes they need.

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4 hours ago, necrovore said:

To my mind, a platform is something different from, say, a magazine.

 

Agreed about the distinction between platform and something different like a magazine. I also agree with kicking people out for rowdy, disruptive, or inappropriate things. I also agree about it being inappropriate to listen in on conversations with the intention of seeking out any possible violator - it demonstrates a lack of trust that should be present. The same with phone companies. The whole purpose of these platforms is for individuals to communicate between one another, to exchange thoughts, so I don't think it's appropriate to monitor for content. At least if by platform we mean something large. 

If people are really exchanging thoughts, then they should be left alone. Any decisions about who is permitted to exchange ideas should have to do with how the person is behaving, not by only looking at the content of their speech. We seem to agree there. Although, I think that is what people usually mean when they say they kick someone out for their views - the expression of views themselves is toxic behavior. If somebody said "black people are ruining this town, they just want to get white women pregnant, and all the pedophiles in Hollywood are Jews" but politely, it is toxic and disruptive. Not because the content per se is the disruption, but because of the egregious violations of rationality they show with their actions, poisoning the well, because of their racism and anti-Semitism. They aren't following the intent of the platform to provide a place to exchange ideas. 

"I think the law should (and sometimes does) recognize that, by default, the person who visits a bar or a (legal) speakeasy, or who uses a telephone, has a right to expect that he or other people would not be kicked out or disconnected because of his or their expressed views -- and on the other hand, the bar or speakeasy owner, or phone company, wouldn't be liable for what his customers say."

Okay, this is where you lose it. Sure it's good to mention legal precedent when discussing how rights should work in relation to morality. But why should anyone expect a right to not be kicked out for their expressed views? I'm assuming you're trying to be accurate here, where you mean individual rights, rather than a common expectation. No violation of rights has occurred if you are kicked off for any reason. Disagreements might arise on a legal level about if you really did violate the rules or if they are fraudulently portraying the way the platform functions. If that's what you mean, fine. Your example of weights and measures is a good one.

But I think that's very different from saying "people on these platforms have a right to expect that they not be kicked out because of their expressed views". Even if it's assumed as a default. The kind of speech we are discussing is already outside the bounds of the default speech that a platform owner can expect. Racist speech is not a normal expectation. Neither is preaching the word of Q. even if you argue that this is fine for your platform despite your disagreement with the view, it's not a rational expectation to hear that speech anyway. 

So the default expectation doesn't really work to help here, because interesting question is what platform owners should rationally do about speech that is outside the default. 
 

4 hours ago, necrovore said:

(What would you think of an auditorium owner inviting a bunch of people over for a "debate" with him, and then when they start to win the argument against him, using logic and evidence, he asks them to leave? ...)

That made me think of this in this context for some reason.

Anyway, sometimes when people say they are being asked to leave because they expressed logic and evidence, they were doing the opposite, engaging in spurious arguments and throwing around loaded questions with mental gymnastics. In fact, I think that's usually the case when people say they are being silenced for expressing logic and evidence. Race realists will often be like that. "You just can't handle that black people on average have a lower IQ! The truth isn't racist." 

In other words, it could be completely appropriate. The owner should have standards of how communication should work, and for what counts as evidence at a debate. There's not enough context to say more than that.

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3 hours ago, necrovore said:

When you decide to create a platform instead, you are creating something different. It's the Internet equivalent of opening a bar or a speakeasy, where people can come and talk with other people, and all you do is provide the facility.

I like this analogy. But how do you factor in the permanence of speech on social media versus the impermanence of speech at a bar? Like a physical magazine, your social media posts have some permanence over time because they exist as an electronic document. They aren't ephemeral like the conversation you have with someone at a bar. Thus, platforms like Facebook aren't merely providing a place where people can come and talk to each other. They're providing tools for creating, publishing and distributing documents.

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Terrific metaphor, and over the door of the speakeasy there's a sign

>Leave your delicate feelings at the door<

When a. the proprietor listens in and intervenes in conversation, liberally banning customers, many others will not return.

When b. customers get turned off by the speech of a preponderance of nasty idiots, they will not return.

But be prepared sometimes to have your feelings offended if you value freedom of speech.

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12 hours ago, whYNOT said:

Terrific metaphor

I guess we could call it an analogy to Internet platforms, but the principles involved are the same. They are the same category.

12 hours ago, whYNOT said:

But be prepared sometimes to have your feelings offended if you value freedom of speech.

What does that have to do with the property owner deciding what categories of speech are appropriate? 

17 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

But how do you factor in the permanence of speech on social media versus the impermanence of speech at a bar?

Do you really need anything besides perhaps a rule that posts cannot be retroactively deleted after new policies are put in place? The only difference seems to be that current behavior doesn't necessarily match previous behavior. Like I've been saying, it's not the speech per se that should be moderated or controlled, but what intentions the speech reveals. So you don't need to worry about evaluating what was said in the past separated from the person speaking. 

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6 hours ago, Doug Morris said:

Did Andy and Bosch get any warnings before the channel was terminated?

I don't know but I doubt it. My understanding is that with severe violations YT just nukes your channel and makes you start over, unless you're a special user. Also, if they had a couple strikes they wouldn't have been able to upload for a period of time, and I don't think that happened.

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11 hours ago, Eiuol said:

I guess we could call it an analogy to Internet platforms, but the principles involved are the same. They are the same category.

What does that have to do with the property owner deciding what categories of speech are appropriate? 

 

The answer is in the question. Why must he judge "what categories of speech are appropriate"? Usually, INappropriate. Because of the huge audience. The number of fragile evaders the platform owner knows are reading/listening in, one assumes. He is protecting their feelings from the hardier, truthful subscribers. Above which the de-platformers have demonstrated they have a need, plus being aware of the power to mold the societal 'narrative' - to their type of moral/political sensibilities. 

Conversely a laissez faire platform would implicitly be encouraging of rationality and truthfulness over sensations. The snowflakes can learn, toughen up to realities, or leave.  As things stand, the bad will go on driving out any good. Until there's an over-representation of the bad, mostly Leftist, ideas.

The media platforms have become central to public discourse. What is formed in people's minds on them is ultimately what form the society takes. So which kind of people in society does one prefer, those with independent, honest and rational ideas, facts and opinions or of evaders and their feelings?

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28 minutes ago, whYNOT said:

He is protecting their feelings from the hardier, truthful subscribers, above which the de-platformer clearly has a need and the power to mold the societal 'narrative' - to his type of moral/political sensibilities. 

Who says the owner is protecting anyone's feelings? Maybe the owner for himself doesn't want to hear that nonsense of whatever it might be. As a property owner, I would care that people go on with racist statements, not because I want to protect the people who hear it, but because I think saying such things is rude and obnoxious. And this is rational and appropriate reason to tell people that they can't be racist (did you see my example earlier?). Even on large platforms, because there are certain rational expectations even during intense debates. Protecting people doesn't enter my analysis anywhere. I agree with you if the intention of the owner is to protect sensibilities, people can protect themselves fine from speech. But unfortunately, some people might enjoy a deliberately combative environment even if the property owner never intended for the platform to turn into that. 

Furthermore, actively listening isn't required. Users can report somebody, then the platform verifies a report, then deletes the offending content. I don't think preemptive "listening" would be appropriate. 

 

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I'd like to mention that whether or not the election was "stolen" really depends on what you mean by that.

 

I haven't seen good evidence of widespread, outright fraud.  I've looked into it and it does not seem like that happened.  However, quite a few major media companies (as well as Facebook and Twitter) have outright admitted that they were slanting things in Biden's favor, most notably with regard to Hunter Biden's laptop.

Ten percent of Biden's voters would not have voted for him if they'd ever heard of Hunter Biden's shenanigans - only they didn't.  When the New York Times attempted to actually cover that story the rest of their peers did their very best to ignore and bury it.  Twitter even pulled the story down and prohibited any mention of it on their platform.

That is neither fraud nor censorship.  These were all private companies who chose to omit information which would've been pertinent to the voters, and several million of them chose to vote for Biden because they weren't given that information and didn't take any proactive steps to find it out themselves.

 

None of that is in question.  None of it is or should be criminal (which is why I personally don't use the word "stolen") but it was grossly immoral, especially for media companies for whom information is supposed to be their business.

A reporter who doesn't care to report on the truth is like a scientist who doesn't care to discover it: in a perfect world, unemployable.

 

The answer is not to try and prevent such private evils from happening again with any new laws, but for anyone who's upset about it (and not unjustifiably) to have some boycotts of their own.  Any competing media company that actually functioned in its intended manner would be another great place to start.

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On 3/14/2021 at 8:53 PM, Eiuol said:

What they care about is making money and absolutely nothing else.

If only!

 

I miss the days when that's what a company was for.  It was a cleaner and more honest way of doing business.  I think the problem today is that these companies are in fact being run by emotionalist moralizers with pitchforks.

On 3/16/2021 at 5:25 PM, dream_weaver said:

I went to a local brick and mortar earlier this afternoon, . . . egads, I didn't check to see if the owner attended mass last Sunday.

The owner standing outside their store with a sign that reads "unbelievers unwelcome" would be a much more apt comparison.  Amazon has a webpage on "our positions" under "about us" which says, among other things:

Quote
  • The federal minimum wage in the U.S. is too low and should be raised.
  •  
    Human-induced climate change is real, serious, and action is needed from the public and private sectors.
  •  
    Diversity, equity, and inclusion are good for business—and more fundamentally—simply right.
  •  
    The inequitable treatment of Black people is unacceptable.
  •  
    The rights of LGBTQ+ people must be protected.
  •  
    We strongly support the rights of immigrants and immigration reform.
  •  
    All people should have access to housing they can afford.

 

I'm not saying it should be illegal for Jeff Bezos to hold these opinions or to make as big and beautiful a website as he wants to about them - just as it should be totally legal for any shopkeeper to put a giant sign in front of his store with whatever opinions he wants to share.  I am saying that I sure as Hell would not buy from a shop that had an atheist-bashing sign in front of it and am not doing business with Amazon for the same reason.

If you want to use your private company as a soapbox from which to say extremely non-business-related things (or prevent others from sharing their own opinions on your property) then I'd better agree with what you're saying or else I'm not gonna fund your personal soapbox.

 

You might ask yourself whether it makes sense to do business on such ideological terms and no; I don't think it does.  That's why I miss the time when companies didn't play these stupid games or pretend that they had any higher purpose than profit.

 

Ironically I guess I'm calling for those of us who are still sane to develop a bit of our own cancel culture, in the hopes of getting back down to business.

Edited by Harrison Danneskjold
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On 3/16/2021 at 10:13 PM, necrovore said:

I also think there should be a term for when private citizens move to block others from having information, and though it may be legal and not an infringement of anyone's rights, there still needs to be a word for it. In many cases it is very rude behavior, and censorship is also not the kind of behavior one would expect of a person who is confident in the rightness of their ideas.

"Omission" sounds good.  A private company can't censor people (that would require force) but they can omit certain bits of information from the discussion, which is exactly what many companies did with the specific intent of helping Biden win.  It worked, too.  Hopefully the consequences of that little gimmick won't have to involve anyone except its perpetrators.

On 3/17/2021 at 12:48 PM, necrovore said:

Censorship, by contrast, is when a person deliberately tries to prevent someone else from obtaining information. That's my definition. This can be an infringement of rights in some cases (e.g., if you want to go to the bookstore to buy a book, but I stop you), but it can also not be (e.g., if I own the bookstore and decide not to carry the book or even order it -- or if I buy up all the copies of the book in town, and burn them, so that you can't get one.)

Although if you miss a book its price will suddenly skyrocket.  I never thought I'd see the day when Doctor Seuss's mediocre ramblings would be traded in back alleys like drugs, but far more expensive.

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On 3/20/2021 at 2:01 AM, whYNOT said:

Yes, they're fine upstanding capitalists. They could never attempt to manipulate a public's minds. What was I thinking?

Your context dropping is exhausting. I don't even think you realize you're doing it. 

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