so if you haven’t come across it, see here , here , here and here .

in short, one side says sources are pro-imperialist, the other side believes they’re legitimate sources. then there is one user thinking we have been targeted by troll farms, one accusing others of being conspiracy theorists and stuff like that. it’s one of the most unproductive arguements I’ve seen on Lemmy, something that looks like one those downvoted-to-oblivian threads on reddit. it’s just a mess.

I think we can do a few things to prevent such pointless fights in the future:

  1. my favoriate response would be creating a community of fact-checker Lemmurs. it’ll function similar to a wikipedia talk page, anyone can request a trial for an article shared on c/worldnews , then they will present evidence and sources to challenge the article, while the other side attempts to do the same. personal attacks, accusing of being a troll, asking for a call on jitsi to debate face to face (like seriously?!?!) will be forbidden. both sides will debate untill they reach an agreement. trying to go off-topic, bad faith arguements etc will be forbidden as well.

each time we reach a conclusion, a positive or negative point will be assigned to news source and to the person who posted it. best contributers who show the least bias will get a point as well. overtime it will help us to see if a source is really good or not.

  1. a much easier approch would be to let downvotes and upvotes decide the fate of each post. I understand that this is the whole point of lemmy and similar platforms, but right now we have the problem of each side using downvotes and upvotes like it’s a battle. posts about internet censoreship and tiny pigs are being downvoted because the person who posts them trusts the Guardian and other news outlets.

  2. we can limit the number of posts on c/worldnews to minimize the amount of personal attacks and arguements.

so what do you think? I personally think as more users come to lemmy, we’ll be dealling with more diverse opinions, and people might just engage in behaviors that harms the platform and benefits no one. this will be a real problem considering that Lemmy leans far-left. in my opinion having a fact-checking community will be neccessary if we don’t want fact-based communities turn into battlefields.

ps: am I going too far and overreacting? to be honest I don’t know xD I just think there’s no chance for productive political arguements if we can’t agree on the facts, and i see no point in what’s happening on c/worldnews right now.

@nutomic
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First of all, thanks for making this thread, I think it is important to discuss these issues in the open, rather than developing grudges.

I think what you are mainly talking about are the comments by @Nevar@lemmy.ml and @TheAnonymouseJoker@lemmy.ml which are relatively aggressive. We could probably consider them violations against rule 2 (“Be respectful. Everyone should feel welcome here”), which we havent enforced that much so far. So enforcing that rule more strictly could already be a step in the right direction, though I am unsure where to draw the line (suggestions welcome).

That said, I think it is important to allow everyone to voice their opinion, especially if they disagree. If everyone agrees from the start, that doesnt make for an interesting discussion. This is also why I dislike the idea of fact checkers, because it likely means that one side gets excluded from the discussion, and Lemmy turns into an echo-chamber.

On the technical side, we are working on a feature that will let users block communities (so you dont see their posts anymore). That should be useful for people who simply dont care about politics (or other topics).

Dessalines
admin
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I just wanna echo the be respectful point also: disagreements are perfectly fine, and no one is going to be banned for disagreeing with mods or admins ( provided they don’t break the other rules like no racism / xenophobia ). Just be respectful when disagreeing: educate, don’t talk down to others.

@AgreeableLandscape
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I’ll echo it again. Civil arguments are most productive, aggressive ones are not.

@soferman
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@TheAnonymouseJoker
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I will admit I acted in a pervert manner, and with a tinge of assholery. No defense for that. However I planned to possibly generate this discussion as a chain reaction resultant.

If I had not acted aggressively, confronting the absolutely bizarre mass posting of particular kind of news articles like this, it would have continued, a behaviour which started to ramp up in the last few days.

I have been one of the people that do not want to see Lemmy as that same bigoted toxic narrow echo chamber as Reddit or other social media, and I had to act like a pervert for it for the greater good.

The last thing I will accept, as an old adopter of Lemmy, is it getting trashed by handful users with a bias of their own, even if it requires engagement, a bit of confrontation and reforms.

Moreover, the narrative bring thrown around of discouraging critical thinking, and promoting some fact checker groups, is anti intellectual and encourages degrading quality of posters and conversations.

I have a ton of experience with forums and hence can explain this stuff. Anyone may discuss this with me, now that the dust has settled (hopefully). I will be relatively calm here.

@tronk
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✅ Self-awareness

✅ Being prosocial (although I wonder if people would see the “I had to do it” as prosocial, but still)

Thanks for those two things.

I’m sure you’ll be able to discuss your genuinely interesting views in an effective way (apart from continuing posting interesting stuff!)

@TheAnonymouseJoker
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Do not worry, I came here not for a sprint but a marathon ;)

soronixa
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thank you. yes I was mostly talking about those two users, but honestly neither side tried to prevent what happened.

we could enforce rule 2, or we could ask people to try and argue against the content of an article or the source instead of just labeling it.

I agree, if the fact checking gets implemented it should give a voice to all participents who stay polite and contribute.

@Torquatus
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Since I’m new on the fact-checker pages, I still have to understand how to utilize them, so as @TheAnonymouseJoker said mentioning them excessively doesn’t bring a critical discussion on a topic, and I did that on some comments. Thanks for bringing this up! Also, I second your comment.

Helix
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We could probably consider them violations against rule 2 (“Be respectful. Everyone should feel welcome here”), which we havent enforced that much so far. So enforcing that rule more strictly could already be a step in the right direction, though I am unsure where to draw the line (suggestions welcome).

Please don’t use wishy-washy rules like “be respectful” without defining what “respectful” means. I suggest drawing the line at direct insults to users of this instance. You can usually clearly see if comments are meant in a demeaning or joking manner. Sarcasm, irony, satire can be distinguished from vile attacks most of the time.

You already link a code of conduct here: https://join-lemmy.org/docs/en/code_of_conduct.html#moderation which defines the rule more clearly:

Remarks that violate the Lemmy standards of conduct, including hateful, hurtful, oppressive, or exclusionary remarks, are not allowed. (Cursing is allowed, but never targeting another user, and never in a hateful manner.)

I won’t comment on the other parts of the CoC enabling arbitrariness as this is another debate to be had.

On the technical side, we are working on a feature that will let users block communities (so you dont see their posts anymore). That should be useful for people who simply dont care about politics (or other topics).

It would be nice if you could prioritise this. I opened a feature request for an “ignore user” feature which I saw in another community.

@soferman
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@nutomic
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Thanks. We definitely have our disagreements, but I think we still manage to discuss things politely (I hope you see it the same way).

I’m not sure how you see the threads linked in the OP, but in the future you might consider reporting such comments by messaging an admin/mod, instead of replying to them.

@soferman
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@pinknoise
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Everyone should be allowed to post whatever they want as long as they respect the instances rules. If someone thinks an article is bullshit they are free to post their counterstatement or create their own politically correct community.

@xvf
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I’d say that’s easier said than done. There’s a reason “fake news” have become a thing, they get as much visibility as real reports/news do and a lot of people just read titles and never articles nor sources.

Helix
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Real fake news, if proven, can easily be deleted by mods. And if there are multiple instances of someone posting fake news from the same sites without seeing the light, they can be banned. But then I’d really like to see a proper fact-check first.

@chronojockey
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I came to Lemmy because I’m sick of the nonstop corporate interference in internet communications. I support open source and the movement towards decentralization. That’s why I’m excited about this platform.

Like any community, we’re going to have growing pains. But this site could easily descend into extremist echo chambers that many reddit alternatives have. Look how quickly a site like Voat turned into a Nazi / alt-right propaganda site. I don’t believe it’s civil to completely discredit an article because it’s from a “Western” or “European” source without credible citations. A comment such as “Another pro-imperialist post I see!” is nothing more than a shitpost. An informative post that brings to light some hypocrisy is fine, sometimes a reality check is needed. But we should be civil.

I would support a fact based curation system, but I don’t know how we could scale that. Not to mention you’d be in a “who watches the watchmen?” kind of situation.

Agreed! That New York Times article about Russia vs. Twitter could have been an interesting discussion about sovereignty in a world of near ubiquitous internet access. Instead, the whole thread was “bikeshedded” into talking about media bias. And it seemed that the arguing was really just aggressively agreeing that the media is biased.

I’m not sure about fact checking either. I’ve seen posts where any bit of criticism of Putin or China is met with violent opposition, accusations of propaganda, then backed up with “facts” from other media sources. As if people aren’t allowed to be critical of the government and anything but absolute praise is just wrong. I’m not defending one side or another, because the only thing I do know is that I don’t know the whole truth. And I don’t think anyone here does either. The best we can do is have civil discussion about what we do see.

@quiteStraightEdge
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So people discredit articles based on continent they were written on?..

@TheAnonymouseJoker
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No, they are discredited based on who funds the narratives and news outlets and what political tilt they have.

@quiteStraightEdge
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That sounds more right ;)

Helix
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Look how quickly a site like Voat turned into a Nazi / alt-right propaganda site.

Look how quickly a site like Lemmy turned into a Communist / far-left propaganda site. I’m so far left I hardly can contain myself setting cars on fire and even I think we’re pretty far out there already.

I don’t believe it’s civil to completely discredit an article because it’s from a “Western” or “European” source without credible citations.

Yeah. There’s a difference between science and journalism. You can fact-check stuff in the comments and look at the downvotes to see if it’s a controversial issue.

who watches the watchmen?

Sigh. Ye age olde game…

@ozoned
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Personally, I just gave up on c/worldnews. Yes, someone is posting in c/worldnews, yes, they’re from western sources, but how exactly is an article on climate change causing increases in bacterial infection “pro-imperialist propaganda”? If it’s science based, backed by a report by the CDC, then that’s science. Not once has the primary person posting attempted to influence the conversation on posting. When folks are responding to the articles, the person posting states something like they agree with the post or they disagree with the post.

The problem with fact checkers, if they too can be biased and a lot of world news is going to be difficult to verify.

I just had this conversation about things like Snopes and mediabiasfactchecker. I was just told they weren’t reputable sources, just because. There is almost no chain of trust with news sources it seems. At least not one that everyone will agree on, so what can we do?

If you block someone from posting, what’s to stop them from creating new accounts and getting around it?

If you go by the community up/down votes, same thing.

Sadly this is a fact of life on the internet.

One thing we can attempt to do is attempt to be civilized and let’s have an active discussion and not just “YOU’RE WRONG!” Ok… maybe I am wrong, let’s have a discussion as to WHY I’m wrong and where are the sources?

I don’t have an answer to this problem, so honestly I’m staying out of c/worldnews now, because it’s not worth it. I’ll just get my news elsewhere from Lemmy and that sucks, but if we’re not going to have real conversations then this site and technology will just devolve into the absolute cesspool like other places.

And that’s not to say all of other platforms are perfect or imperfect. There’s beauty and ugliness in everything. The technology isn’t implicitly good or evil. How we decide to use it is.

So can we just be grown ups and have real discussions or is this platform just going to turn into another awful place on the web? It’s up to us.

@Torquatus
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I’ve seen an interesting argument recently (don’t remember where, sorry), in which the guy says, in his opinion, that the problem with news subbreddits on Reddit (which can be applied also to c/worldnews), is that news posting is directly accompanied with comments, and by doing so you have opinions from readers that didn’t have time to process the information described in the article, which can lead to fights. He thinks that news posting and comments shouldn’t be together, instead be separated.

A solution could be separating c/worldnews with a new community which discusses those news: the post is doubled, with the original one clean and unopinionized, and the second one is full-on Waterloo.

I don’t have an answer to this problem, so honestly I’m staying out of c/worldnews now, because it’s not worth it

I’m also worried about this as much as you; my opinion is that it should have stricter rules/code of conduct, just because it’s the most important news community

Edit: found the argument, it’s @Jeffrey’s on this post, credit to him/her.

@tronk
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Interesting. Though I worry this would mean people simply go to the Waterloo c/ instead of c/worldnews.

soronixa
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I totaly agree. but i didn’t mean this fact-checking to result in bans, I wanted it to make political discussions less of a fight and name calling, and more of a mature and polite exchange of how we see the world based on the same set of facts. my goal was to have a community where the flow of discussion is similar to a wikipedia talk page, because right now one user calls another one a pro-imperialist, they answer by calling them an anarcho-communist, then one users says maybe “Lemmy is anti-establishment and has attracted troll-farms” and the other one says “come show your face on jitsi if you have anything to say”. it’s freaking awful.

The problem with fact checkers, if they too can be biased

that’s what made me think of this idea, if our fellow lemmurs don’t believe fact-checkers, maybe they should start fact-checking themselves.

@Jeffrey
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I’m really glad you started this discussion, I saw the heated exchanges and I was disappointed and put off by the lack of civility.

Honestly, I don’t think Lemmy or Reddit are proper forms for controversial discussions like news and I’d be in favor of removing c/worldnews and similar divisive communities until a more effective trust-building and conflict-resolving system can be implemented; upvotes and downvotes will not suffice. Conflict is inevitable, but to promote civility the platform itself must be structured to foster trust between users, by promoting more engaging interactions between people .

I’ve been brainstorming about a Lemmy-wide community calendar system that would allow users to schedule events. e.g. any subscriber of gaming@lemmy.ml could schedule that they will be playing Veloren at 1500 UTC, then any Lemmy user could see that event and choose to join. Kind of like combining meetup.com and Lemmy in order to form communities on Lemmy that promote far more meaningful interactions between users than the inevitably superficial interactions of an asynchronous comments section.

It might seem like an unrelated fix, but users will not be so impulsive with their comments if they are forming genuine relationships with one another, and with deeper community connections comes a sense of stewardship in the users.

@TheAnonymouseJoker
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To prevent the mouse, hire a cat. Then to hinder the cat, hire a dog. To stop the dog, hire a lion. To stop the lion, hire a shotgun man. To prevent the shootings, bring in police. To protest against the police, create chaos.

To prevent the chaos, nip the problem in the bud.

soronixa
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lol, this is perfect xD

yeah, I understand that maybe, just maybe my idea was a bit flawed. gotta get some more sleep.

@copacetic
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The gold standard for me would be “adversarial collaboration” as described by Scott Alexander here and here. The first describes a conflict about psychic psi powers research. The amazing twist is that both sides wrote a paper together. The second article describes a similar collaboration about fact-checking. Essentially, this is “debate until they reach an agreement” with the additional requirement that they publish a joint statement afterwards.

So, if you are in an intense discussion with somebody, the best you can do is to write a blog post together. It requires both of you to present the evidence in a neutral way and derive conclusions such that you both agree with the reasoning. The process will make you work out where exactly you disagree (the quality of the sources? different values? missing knowledge?).

Is that realistic though? Such a collaboration is much more effort than a reply to a comment which triggers me. It is the best way to make progress in the overall debate.

Is that the goal here though? We don’t care so much about the result or progress of a debate but only to keep it civilized so everybody feels welcome to continue. An “unproductive” discussion is ok as long as all participants are nice to each other.

soronixa
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thank you! adversarial collabration seems to be awesome.

Is that realistic though? Such a collaboration is much more effort than a reply to a comment which triggers me. It is the best way to make progress in the overall debate.

well we can make rules to promote behavior, we just have to see if others agree. in my view, this is better than the current rules of c/worldnews.

Is that the goal here though? We don’t care so much about the result or progress of a debate but only to keep it civilized so everybody feels welcome to continue. An “unproductive” discussion is ok as long as all participants are nice to each other.

good point. I agree that our main goal is to keep discussions welcoming, but I would say the right choice would be to prefer the more productive way, specially when it comes to politics, even if it means making some effort. some comments here talk about how the current system of platforms like Lemmy and reddit for discussing politics is broken, because everyone upvotes comments they agree with and downvote ones that triggers them. if we can fix it, why shouldn’t we?

in other words, wouldn’t it be irresponsible to make no attempt to fix a system that doesn’t work? shouldn’t we value productive political debate if we value our future? can’t we at least make an alternative community where the method of debate is adversarial collabration and see how it goes?

since you came up with it, would you make a new post suggesting it as an alternative to current state? that’d be great. Lemmy’s main developers actually care about the ethics of how their platform affects users, which is why I think it’s a good idea.

@copacetic
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The question is how to turn it into a technical implementation.

We assume the situation is at least two people discussing and a moderator stepping in. Now the mod needs a button which makes the two write a shared conclusion. Lemmy could provide the means to write a “joint comment”, where both can edit and both need to sign it off. How to incentivize them though? The button probably needs to block the thread, post, or accounts until the joint comment is published.

soronixa
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I think we can do it manually for some time to see how it goes, if it succeeds developers can add it. we can also have the community discuss this in a new post, maybe we’ll need to create a new community like c/adversarialcollabration to see if it works.

@Echedenyan
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each time we reach a conclusion, a positive or negative point will be assigned to news source and to the person who posted it. best contributers who show the least bias will get a point as well. overtime it will help us to see if a source is really good or not.

This sound like a karma-based system or the trust thingie Mastodon was planning to implement with https://eunomia.social/.

soronixa
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I was thinking of something like r/changemyview 's delta-based system, but a bit stricter.

@tronk
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I agree that maybe there’s something that could be done.

Fact checking is tricky

As to fact-checking, I’m not really sure what to do. On one hand I worry the ‘reputation’ system would be too restrictive. On the other hand, in general (by which I mean that I haven’t seen this crop up in Lemmy but I wouldn’t like to see) I’d hate to see anti-vax, flat-earth, or otherwise blatant fake science showing up.

Nudging cognition and affect is as well, but seems more viable

But there is something that could be done regarding the way in which the Lemmy interface nudges our thoughts and feelings. The paradigmatic example in the Fediverse is Eunomia. I wonder (and don’t doubt we could find) literature on these nudges to improve interactions.

The goal could be to avoid finger-pointing as well as aggression, and to incentivize thought/understanding, kindness, and, in general, positive emotions so that we’re able to be both flexible and critical. Note that the positive emotions part is not me being hippy-dippy; by now it’s well established that positive emotions enhance cognition and permit a much broader set of automatic thinking habits than negative emotions. In particular, negative emotions have no desirable characteristics that positive emotions can’t deliver (make sure you read p.110 ¶2 sentences 4 and 5).

It would be great if we can find a way of changing interfaces in such a way as to nudge us towards positive emotions and critical thinking.

But until the heavy lifting for that is done (something that, once I feel comfortable with my CS training, I could attempt), I wonder if the minimal Democratic manifesto could be done with tricky situations like these in mind. In other words, make an explicit, clear, and widespread expectation that we’re here to share, understand critically, and interact kindly.

Sightline
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On the other hand, in general (by which I mean that I haven’t seen this crop up in Lemmy but I wouldn’t like to see) I’d hate to see anti-vax, flat-earth, or otherwise blatant fake science showing up.

You should bet on that happening. I created /c/conspiracy because Reddit’s /r/conspiracy is effectively /r/The_Donald. These people do not care about your facts, at all whatsoever. If anything they’ll want their “facts” to be the only facts you ever encounter. Go there (/r/conspiracy) and look around if you do not believe me. A different approach needs to be taken. I was there when Voat was first created, before it turned to shit. Something creative needs to happen here, or IMO this place will turn to shit too.

RUSSIAN ACTIVE MEASURES CAMPAIGNS AND INTERFERENCE IN THE 2016 U.S. ELECTION

VOLUME 2: RUSSIA’S USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA:

Analysis of the behavior of the IRA-associated social media accounts makes dear that while the Russian information warfare campaign exploited the context of the election and election-related issues in 2016, the preponderance of the operational focus, as reflected repeatedly in content, account names, and audiences targeted, was on sociapy divisive issues-such as race, immigration, and Second Amendment rights-in an attempt to pit Americans against one another and against their government. The Committee found that IRA influence operatives consistently used hot-button, societal divisions in the United States as fodder for the content they published through social media in order to stoke anger, provoke outrage and protest, push Americans further away from one another, and foment distrust in government institutions. The divisive 2016 U.S. presidential election was just an additional feature of a much more expansive, target-rich landscape of potential ideological and societal sensitivities.

A much easier approch would be to let downvotes and upvotes decide the fate of each post.

That’s one of the worst ideas I can think of right now. If anything upvotes/downvotes should be disabled for a temporarily amount of time.

@TheAnonymouseJoker
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Go there (/r/conspiracy) and look around if you do not believe me. A different approach needs to be taken. I was there when Voat was first created, before it turned to shit. Something creative needs to happen here, or IMO this place will turn to shit too.

I was not at Voat or Raddle or Saidit or other reddit clones for this reason. I picked Lemmy due to multiple reasons, and one of them largely was that QAnon followers could simply not flock here and spew all kinds of nonsense. I am trying to look around ways to help encounter this, because for now only vigilance of user base seems the correct answer.

@Jeffrey
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I was on Voat when it was a pleasant community like Lemmy, and I tried to nudge for civility as over time every post became hateful and angry. I would still browse Voat occasionally until it shut down because I value diversity of thought, and I was curious to encounter rhetoric which contradicted my own beliefs.

Lemmy is not so different, however, instead of having a far-right bias Lemmy has a far-left bias. For now there are no far-right Lemmy instances to balance far-left instances like Lemmygrad.ml. This creates an atmosphere where right-leaning, and centrist users might take one look around and feel unwelcome.

I think it is important that left-leaning, centrist, and right-leaning users feel welcome while leaving bigotry at the door. We need for someone who is bigoted to feel welcome here by all of their other traits, and to erode their bigoted beliefs over time because bigotry is not tolerated. I think Lemmy and the Fediverse have real potential to foster a space where diverse users can share stories and form communities with users who hold very different beliefs.

Voat showed it is not enough to create an open platform with unmoderated free speech, the platform itself must have structures in place to promote civility, and the users of the platform must work hard to maintain a culture of civility. The fact that QAnon believers are not welcome here means that Lemmy has already siloed itself, and I believe that the current policy of non-federation with disagreeable instances is too strict to be a long-term viable solution.

My vision for fostering civility on Lemmy is for sublemmies to federate with one another across instances. e.g. /c/pixelart@lemmy.ml could federate freely with /c/pixelart@far-right.com and /c/pixelart@far-left.com to promote relationships between users with very different beliefs. However, /c/politics@lemmy.ml might want to federate much more selectively with /c/politics@far-right.com or /c/politics@far-left.com. Perhaps /c/politics@far-right.com and /c/politics@far-left.com could have a weekly debate post which is the only post that federates between them.

@TheAnonymouseJoker
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I agree that while Lemmy looks like a far-left space, you have to consider why people that escaped Reddit and r/worldnews style of Hegelian vacuums came here. Reddit provides a neoliberal space, Raddle/Gab/chans (4chan et al) provide a far right safe space, and Lemmy provides a safe space as well.

People over there mass brigade and spout racist shit and do not rely on facts to prop up their agendas. None of this happens on Lemmy, because far left is one domain that largely does not consist of uneducated hypocrites, reactionaries, warmongerers or racists and believes in critical thinking just like some of the conservatives do.

The problem is, you will not see corrupt liberals or neocons leaving their bigotry or agendas at the door for a discussion, and will use every opportunity to leverage their agendas. This is what creates such massive friction. That does not mean to say far left people are some hermits, but I have seen more humanity, collective good and peace advocacy in this political space than anywhere else. And there is no honeymoon phase in political ideologies, so I am not dreaming either.

Instances, unless agree to rules mutually, cannot and should not federate with each other. It has massive consequences of destroying peace for the composed, silent users, and whoever wants chaos is the beneficiary party of such federations (often the far right warmongerer kind or a right libertarian or a neoliberal).

From what I saw, Voat became a far right thing, and QAnon stuff has poisoned half the American voter population. Allowing these kinds of propaganda liars, while seemingly great in utopia, is dangerous on Earth today, because we do not have a utopia. Society envisioned in a vacuum is meaningless unless you live in a vacuum.

Every “free speech” platform is simply a way for contemporary fascism to flourish, which is observed evidently again and again and again and again and again. It is why Mastodon had to ban National Socialism (Nazi) people from its main instance, which most instances do prefer.

It is a tougher problem than you or I can think. I wrote a small piece on it in December 2020. https://teddit.net/r/privatelife/comments/k7vngo/2020_special_the_good_the_bad_and_the_ugly_my/

@Jeffrey
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I just don’t believe we can bridge divides by refusing to build bridges. It is easy to unfederate if things get out of hand, but I believe to not try at all would be a tragedy.

People [on Reddit, 4Chan, et al] mass brigade and spout racist shit and do not rely on facts to prop up their agendas. None of this happens on Lemmy, because far left is one domain that largely does not consist of uneducated hypocrites, reactionaries, warmongerers or racists and believes in critical thinking just like some of the conservatives do… you will not see corrupt liberals or neocons leaving their bigotry or agendas at the door for a discussion, and will use every opportunity to leverage their agendas.

When I read that, I felt a little put off because it stereotypes many of the people in my life and espouses a certain pretentiousness, or holier-than-thou attitude of the Left. The left can be every bit as violent and bigoted as the right: a few years ago my local chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America was ransacked by disgruntled communists advocating for violent revolution who were angry with the DSA’s peaceful message and reformist agenda. In fact, one of the problems I have witnessed of the left is that there is often an “all or nothing” attitude which self-defeats incremental progress, and undermines solidarity efforts.

Personally, I was raised in a deeply conservative evangelical christian community, and I was sent to radical christian camps as a kid, so I have certainly been in the belly of the beast so to speak. My grandmother is an incredibly talented organ player, a wonderful cook, and a civic minded woman with a tremendous heart, but she is also staunchly against unions and socialist government programs. I think of her, and many of my family members & friends who hold beliefs that conflict with my own, and I refuse to discard the opportunity to have relationships with them because they do not believe entirely what I do.

You are absolutely right that civility becomes more difficult to maintain with wider diversity of opinions, but I also believe the community is made more vibrant by diversity: I was once stuck in San Francisco on Christmas day (the whole city pretty much shuts down), but fortunately Chinatown was bustling because most of the residents & shop owners there do not celebrate Christmas, so I was finally able to get some food. I believe we should have more nuanced control over federation policies rather than “all or nothing”. I don’t think that is naive, I think it is a non-defeatist curiosity to solve problems and make things better. I’m hopeful that as Lemmy and the Fediverse grow they can help erode the perception gap by pioneering policies and practices that build bridges across divides.

@TheAnonymouseJoker
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Bridges are established with those that also want to handshake with some mutual agreement. One cannot make bridges while compromising their own ideals.

You can verify when I tell about the “stereotypes”, people have some common traits and elements. I never say that one should overgeneralise people or things, as they are a pet practice of the neocon or the libertarian. But there should be some identifiable behaviours nonetheless, as we are all humans with some anomalies only so many political thoughts at the end of the day.

I have been an alumni of a very famous Christian convent school, so I know Christian evangelists pretty well. And it is amazing that you did not get trapped there, o7

As for family, I have a neoliberal family with some neocon members as well. I am the only one I know who leans towards socialism, even in my distant friend circles and so on. I do not burn bridges, but I always challenge their beliefs and notions, and have been able to tilt them for some towards being less biased. I used to get called “China agent” and “Russian bot” in jest, I sometimes still do, but it has changed a lot. Some idiots still call me that online, but it takes me a couple reply exchanges to expose them.

It is not simply that civillity becomes harder to achieve amongst diversity, it is that everyone has an itch to scratch for confirmation bias. People have forgotten and discarded ideals and ethics of a genuine discussion, and it always becomes a quick race to win, or a race to the bottom using common tactics like deflection, projection, strawmen, reverse psychology, ad hominems and so on. I love this website and its articles, especially this one on this topic https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/L4HQ3gnSrBETRdcGu/philosophical-landmines (I think @poVoq shared it, grateful to them.)

There is lots, but the crux of problems to me, from experience, looks like partisan politics and overgeneralisation that keeps from having neutral, civil and fruitful discussions.

Edit: LMAO some funny people downvoting me so far down the comment chain, do they think I am discouraged from writing these thesis comments? I am a joker card.

Helix
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Reddit provides a neoliberal space, Raddle/Gab/chans (4chan et al) provide a far right safe space, and Lemmy provides a safe space as well.

I think you misspelt “echo chamber” as “safe space”.

@TheAnonymouseJoker
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I would say it can be interchangeable dependingly. Safe space is just that, free of unsafe elements, while echo chamber simply has one kind of narrative being spoken. Very slight difference from what I know.

Helix
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True, true. I think one man’s safe space is the other man’s echo chamber sometimes.

Helix
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You don’t need far-right instances to “balance” far-left instances. It’s OK to be far left, being centrist is as far right as is needed to counter-balance far-left/communist communities.

Sightline
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From what I remember Voat didn’t start off as a Qanon hangout.

@TheAnonymouseJoker
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Yes. I am not saying that it started as one, but any unmoderated free speech platform becomes a breeding ground for these discriminatory low lifes. Moderation is only a tool, how it is used depends on the moderator, whether it be for enforcing civillity or bias.

@soferman
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@acuteaesthesia
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I think the key here is reminding ourselves why we are on lemmy, as opposed to other social media sites. I’ll speak for myself, having recently discovered lemmy on reddit while looking for alternatives to that site:

  • Lack of corporation/state control (i.e. tencent buying a stake in reddit),

  • Lack of censorship (while bearing in mind that individual communities can and should retain the right to enforce rules)

  • Privacy (lightweight interface which doesn’t sell your data to advertisers)

  • A new start (ideally learning from mistakes of previous forum/social media endeauvours)

In my opinion structurally incentivising long form debate as opposed to hot takes in political/worldnews instances is one way of improving the discourse. I enjoy the r/geopolitics approach (though I am aware that many here will disagree with the political slant of that subreddit), in that submissions are heavily regulated and require an input from the OP as to why they are posting a given source.

One thing I would also say from my perspective, is that I am a novice in regards to the technical elements of lemmy as far as federalised platforms and struggle to participate in technology based privacy discussions.

Perhaps outreach from the more tech savvy elements of the lemmy community towards “tech novices” (among whom I count myself) in regards to internet privacy and the privacy benifits of lemmy and other such endeauvours would be helpful here in retaining users. It should be easy to find a simple explanation on the advantages of lemmy vis a vis other (hopefully soon to be) obsolete (heh) platforms.

Some of these points don’t directly attatch to the discussion of the OP, but I feel this thread has engendered much discussion in the wider community.

tl;dr: privacy, lack of massed external interference good, outreach to less tech savvy, but privacy interested users good, dispensing with a datascraping monetisation model very good, repeating mistakes of established platforms bad bad bad

Edit: Cleanup

@pinknoise
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The first two points aren’t solved by or even in the scope of Lemmy. Governments still have control over servers, services and their operators. Instance owners could still be motivated by financial or other incentives. I think it’s not a good idea to “sell” Lemmy by these points as it would be dishonest.

imo: Those points may also attract difficult people from “free speech” crowds who complain about being banned (“censored”) by twitter, reddit or whatever despite having accepted their policies. There usually is a reason they got banned and the same reasoning might be applied by whatever Lemmy instance they sign up to which in turn would lead them to complain about Lemmy. If they think what they have to say is covered by “free speech” they should host their own, which they can with Lemmy, and this should be communicated like that.

@leanleft
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zeronet is a good free speech alternative platform

@acuteaesthesia
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I will defer on the broader point due to my lack of expertise, but I would suggest (based on your explanation) that there exist different levels of explicit and implicit control.

It is a win in itself to reduce overt interference and affirming the highest degree independence possible, even given deeper possibilities of interference i.e. servers as you describe (again I have no specific knowledge on that front).

I would argue that we shouldn’t make the perfect the enemy of the good, a reduction in control by specific large interests is a good thing and should be looked at comparatively and in a context of what is possible at a given point in time.

“Selling” is an aggressive word I wouldn’t use either, I was more suggesting offering honest, clear, but most importantly easily digestible explanations to those who are already looking for alternatives.

Edit: Cleanup

Edit: On “censorship” and “free speech”

I have practically no knowledge about how these far right echo chambers manifest themselves on established platforms or newly created ones. I do think it is essential to thread the needle between keeping an open platform and rejecting intentional manipulation by large cohorts of politically motivated internet activist groups.

In my opinion a good forum caters to individuals and a free exchange of ideas among these (within reason). The brigading of a given instance by any organised community should be structurally disincentivised, as it destroys that principle.

QuentinCallaghan
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The simplest solution would be not to post too much too fast.

Do you mean some sort of rate limiting? I get that it got some people upset in this case, but what if I wanted to post, for example, a bunch of videos from a conference? I could post them in a single post, or I could create separate posts for each to allow each video to have it’s own conversation. I don’t think we should limit something like that if it’s what that community prefers.

I guess it should be up to the community mods to set and enforce the rules, and it’s up to the authors to respect those rules.

@zagebo
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Awesome sub I will be telling people who put corporate news links in latestagecapitalism and places like that to redirect to here from now on

I think the links aggregated on Lemmy should reflect the leftist values it seems to hold by being open source and decentralized

@avesecq
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LOL, fact-checker Lemmurs.

@soferman
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@tronk
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Thanks for your self-aware and prosocial approach in this reply— although I’m sure that if a reader thinks genocide didn’t really happen, your designation of genocide-denial as gross wouldn’t really be seen as prosocial. But besides that, my point still stands. I’m sure having a post like this, dedicated, in a way, to you, could be discouraging.

Disclaimers…

I worry that, given the context of this thread, this makes it seem as if I’m a liberal/imperialist. I’m sure I haven’t adopted a critical-enough stance. I wish I had it, I genuinely wish I would read more Anwar Shaikh or Noam Chomsky, for example, especially if reading them and adopting a more critical stance still enables me to be kind and understanding in discussions. However, I also think I am currently able to be harshly critical of liberalism. I hope saying this makes it visible that I am open to reading about Nazis in NATO, as I am about Uyghur genocide.

Saying that also forces me to say that I don’t believe ‘the truth is in the middle’. That’s a fallacy. But these are two lines of discourse (Nazis in Nato and Uyghur genocide) that I think deserve my attention, given the stakes at hand, the sources presented, and my interests.

I’m not really sure where I’m going with that, but I guess I am defending myself preemptively from attacks that degrade discussion. How else would someone express their disagreement? I think kindness can help.

Why kindness and understanding are not hippy-dippy kumbaya, but strategic rhetorical tools

Why? Because, while I think cancel culture* signals a shift in values that are largely more inclusive and therefore positive, it can also backfire. It can convince those who are in the middle (1st rule of thumb) that the accusing/cancelling extreme is excessive, and side with the backfiring/conservative extreme.

What to do if not cancel? Swaying, showing how the world would be better if we thought or acted, not that way, but this way. Inglehart, the author who wrote the ‘backfire’ paper, also works with Welzel, who shows how education and the internet/interconnectivity are changing values around the world like never before. This shows that changes in values, and everything that that entails, is possible. In short amounts of time.

Disclaimer 2

And yet I’ve seen plenty of people in Lemmy making amazing contributions with super interesting articles or websites, posted in good faith and with the intent of teaching. I’m really glad to see this happening.

* I use “cancel culture”, but I’m not convinced that’s an appropriate way of describing the interactions OP is referring to. And yet it resembles what I’m trying to describe… Regardless, my point about backlash, those in the middle, and swaying still stands.

@soferman
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Helix
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Yeah, I think the main problem currently seems to be you’re trying to shout louder than the admins. Try to be more rhethorically defined, don’t throw ad hominems, be precise and not overgeneralising. Otherwise you’re just promoting that kind of behaviour as acceptable. Sure, the other side might attack you personally, but this is not a contest who’s first or who has the ultimate truth. Try to stick to the facts. Don’t shoot back, try to disarm.

@soferman
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@tronk
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Oof… you’re touching upon an issue I’ve discussed quite a bit with a group of friends: the tension between effective rhetoric and expressing your true inner feelings. We’ve had these discussions in the context of different types of asymmetrical power relationships, but we often talked about the experience of one of those friends who is gay.

My highschool friend

He grew up being constantly being bullied, including constant jabs from the very same friend-group. Yes, we were regressive, asshole brats; as you may imagine by my tone, this has changed quite a bit. Anyway, the thing is, we changed as a friend-group partly because of the incidentally (or not) inclusive media we consumed. We also changed partly because one of us who went overseas to a hyper-inclusive intentional community would systematically point out micro-aggressions. For example, when someone would say “Oh, he’s such a removed” to mean that someone is weak or fearful, this woke friend would badger them with deliberately nonchalant stuff like “Oh, how could you tell his sexuality based on [that behavior]?” or “Oh, I didn’t know he was into men”. Finally, we were able to change partly because none of us had our identities particularly tied to a regressive expression of a religion or some other ideology (with “ideology” defined in the broadest possible terms).

But that’s not the point. The point is that my friend hated the whole regressive behavior we had. And although he hinted at how he felt by brushing us off with “Alright, alright. Leave me alone”, back then he never expressed his emotions in terms of feeling alone, different, hated, fearful, even disgusting at times… Today he’s able to be more candid with us, and so are we. We can all talk frankly about being fearful of a declining romantic relationship, of having screwed up flirting, of the uncertainties and the shitty certainties aging, of being lost career-wise —you know, the total opposite of stereotypical cisgender men like James Bond.

But I can’t help but wonder whether my friend could’ve changed our regressive views by expressing his awful experience candidly. Honestly, I’m not sure it would’ve worked. We would’ve needed very different schemas to internalize his plight, schemas that we just didn’t have until much later. At the same time, his own experience, expressed strategically, could’ve created those inclusive schemas. But that rhetorical work, which is usually in the hands of capable artists and witty activists, would be too much to ask from a preteen.

My American friend

This is quite a different scenario to another, unrelated, friend. She grew up in a poor, white, and overwhelmingly Evangelical American city. She used to go by the Fox News discourse of the time, of which the most laughably absurd talking point was the whole “Obama, show us your birth certificate”. She ate that up… And her best friend didn’t. Her best friend sat down again and again to talk about these topics, showing her sources, asking critical questions. Eventually, my friend came around and she recognized how absurd her previous point of view was. Today, she’s incredibly grateful at the work her friend put into having her re-think her views.

My neighbors

A last example: my neighbors. They have a dog. It barks all the time. It’s left alone all the time. It’s had no training. The owners themselves told me they don’t like dogs. They have it because their son went overseas and left the dog home. The barking drives me crazy. I try to study and I just can’t think when his barking spouts begin… The law isn’t on my side either: I talked to a lawyer and the most that we can do is get the police to knock on their door and tell them to get their shit together. And so now, my daily life is navigating the tension between (1) wanting to yell in their face about how insensitive they are to leave the dog suffering all day long and how incredibly incompetent they are as owners, and (2) having to approach them with an effective solution. I’ve spent so many hours reading about dog-training, rhetorical tools, how humans change… ugh… it’s been a ride. And, by approaching them strategically, it has improved: now they give the dog walks daily (which is not really a solution to the barking, but at least it makes the dog’s day more interesting) and now they let the dog into the house when they’re not out working. But when they leave the house, so does the dog, and the barking begins…

This whole thing is not so structured, but I’m just trying to let you see where I see the tension between being candid and being strategic. My ideal solution would be to find ways being candid in a rhetorically effective way. But this puts the burden of work on the hands of those who are suffering… and that sucks. Yet I think it’s what I have to continue doing to fix the dog issue, among many other things I’m interested in changing in the world.

@TheAnonymouseJoker
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blasting it with their sources, graphics and alternative history to things

the cultural genocide of the Uighurs in China

I remember trying to give some level headed information when the Israel and Palestine conflict, then (some of them are the actual developers of lemmy) blasted it with all their stuff, pushing for basically just crushing Israel

the previously mentioned denial of current and historical genocides

I love how you take a jab at people with calling them alternative truthers, like others do not state facts and you are the arbiter of truth getting victimised. That speaks a bunch about you, honestly.

You called Grayzone propaganda, right, while defending CNN, BBC as established, reputed news media? https://lemmy.ml/post/67429

You want to know about Uyghur genocide? Try to debunk a single point in this long video and do come back for a debate here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yURIS7S9zg

You want to know about Israel-Palestine conflict? Use news sources with no economic conflict of interest.

my Palestinian friend chat

You want to have a conversation and not destroy Lemmy?

  • Stop spamming news media of one kind of political ide