TOTW: Niches and Roles and Eco-systems Oh My

  • Posted on: 13 January 2020
  • By: thecollective

This week anews moderation was once again impugned. A member of thecollective brought up that no website can/should try to/will ever satisfy all the people's needs. If a healthy biosphere (to work a metaphor) has multiple options to meet various needs, or brains (to use a different metaphor) after damage can build different connections after to re-enable skills and memories, then what are ways that we can, right now, get our needs met? Or perhaps more clearly stated, how do you use your different anarchist connections differently? How does raddle work for you in ways that anews doesn't, and vice versa? What (if anything) is reddit good for? Do you find things on IGD or crimethinc. and then go looking for conversation elsewhere? Are there local sites that work better for you, in terms of meeting people f2f? How have you crazy-quilted a working system for yourself, and how does the connection of online to offline work for you? Or, how would you like it to work for you? (If anews (and other forums) are filled with people who only loathe online communication and wish only for apparently-impossible f2f interactions, what does that say about the level of communication that can happen here, and also about the agency of such folks?)


I come here for 75% trolling/snark and 25% good discussion and/or exposure to some weird and/or brilliant shit that might not have otherwise been on my cantankerous ancom radar. The open sewer of anon commenting allows for a particular type of engagement that reminds me of earlier interweb days and has its merits along with obvious downsides. Whining about how people are mean is lame, being even meaner is fun.

I use the rest of the obvious anarchist media platforms too but it's a lot more sterile, more passive spectator, etc. Wouldn't dramatically change anything about this project and I'm grateful to all the tireless folks who put work in.

I agree.

I think it's impossible to evaluate anews fairly due to the overt sustained barrage of malicious trolling.
Literally a harassment campaign, sometimes targeting specific people, sometimes the whole team or anyone related.
It's really unfortunate how that clouds this discussion, since harassment is not healthy for any biosphere, even if ya'll are tough skinned enough to bear it.

That said, some weeks are better than others around here. It has to do with the topics and the amount of free time the more despicable trolls have on their hand.

Yes, all anons are trolly, some from time to time, some all the time. The problem is when some people are hogging the stage by adopting multiple nicknames and engaging in long rants against themselves, trying to drag their pet unrelated topics to every discussion. Or when it's just outright insults and baiting.

After all that toxicity it kinda makes me want to uhhhh "sew with a ball of messy yarn" or some bullshit, or just turn off the computer, which is a great thing really. People get used to reading things in the worst tone, on the defensive. Makes it hard to tell friend from foe. Some people here would get along better with each other if they were more charitable, but troll ratio makes people not even bother. It's hard to put the effort to be nice.

Whether you are one of those trolls who enjoys complaining about my "intelligence deficit", judges me without adding anything to the attempted discussion, says I'm a sycophant because I'm not a sycophant, put a words in my mouth...

And the list of purposeful misunderstandings goes on! I started out on anarchist forums to have more open discussions than other people let you have, but clearly the opposite thing happened, and I only come on here now to either check on the activities of the site or indulge in a little angry sadism

one of us, ONE OF US!

does your IWW branch officer know how much time you spend on here? he won't be happy when he finds out! no labor vouchers for you this month, comrade

thought you were calling me the snitch ;)

'"How does raddle work for you in ways that anews doesn't, and vice versa?"

Raddle is even worse with censorship than here. You're required to register and get banned with the swiftness and without warning or reason. Would not be surprised if many of the moderators and admins are the same on reddit, raddle, this place and others, like IGD. I imagine that moderating appeals to a relatively specific kind of psyche.

Are any collective members mods elsewhere?

> Raddle is even worse with censorship than here.

depends which raddle forum you're on. some are quicker to ban than others. side wide bans almost never happen.

What? They mostly only do site wide bans, a small handful of people moderate the whole site.

Nothing you're saying seems to be true. The only bans I'm seeing are of spammers.

There's numerous people who have been banned in this link under the guise of "trolling". Same shit, different forum.

They shadow ban plenty of peeps. No warning, no record. Can even log in. You don't see "Banned" white page until you comment, and votes don't count any longer/

The mods are required to state the reason in the moderation log, so that's not true at all. The only two times I've seen anarchists get banned, it was after long conversations in the f/ToSbreaches forum and no one disagreed with the bans.

BULLSHIT. BULL. SHIT. I know of at least three site wide bans with zero warning or notice. You're full of shit. 3 years of the site being live. HOLY SHIT IT'S THE FUCKING USSR OVER THERE.

get a life.

"I imagine that moderating appeals to a relatively specific kind of psyche."

those who have a vested interest (normally not in terms of money) in content control. People who like rule-sets and standards, whereas for me personally i try to just see things the way they are and understand my own biases. Maybe i should give modding a shot? No thanks. All internet communication is a degradation of communicating. I prefer email overall because it's very direct and confrontational.

As far as my standards, the only thing i expect is for people to respect me just as a living animal or a human. I've noticed people get really mad when you flip their standards and control methods back around on them, so i tend to do that if someone isn't making any sense to me in their demands.

We all use forums (for all intents and purposes this is still a forum) for either learning information, pleasing mental chatter, and/or seeking attention.

with anti-state, anti-civ stuff... makes life very hard surrounded by such much crapola. Very sad to see Bellamy going the way many 'anarchists' seem to go: professional mainstream, possibly academia awaits if his writing style in his blog is anything to go by? Has ANews or perhaps The Brilliant ever carried interviews audio or written on older anarchists: those over 35 years? My cynicism tells me younger folks (by and large) will be here gone tomorrow and where does that leave anarchy: forever trying to get off the ground?

picturing you with back of your hand pressed dramatically to forehead, pacing back and forth, centre stage

> Has ANews or perhaps The Brilliant ever carried interviews audio or written on older anarchists: those over 35 years?

the last episode of the brilliant was an interview with a person who was definitely older than 35.

What is Bellamy's blog? I generally enjoy their writing, didn't know they had a blog.

yeah, it's brand new, not much on there yet.
they also made a twitter in order to promote an upcoming video project and or book or whatever.

Bellamy's absolutely gearing up to become some new academic anarchist intellectual like North American academia has by-produced. Just really too bad we don't see those in more "conservative" fields like medicine, physics, economics, urban design, biology and else, as this is where the radicals used to be in older days.

> Just really too bad we don't see those in more "conservative" fields like medicine, physics, economics, urban design, biology and else, as this is where the radicals used to be in older days.

Why would that be a good thing? Are you trying to do a deep entryism on the state to bring about the revolution?

Do you think the state is going to collapse by itself or from anything happening on the outside?

i agree, bellamy's writing is very much in the style of academia. which is too bad, because when i met him face to face, i didn't get that impression at all.

I come here for the articles. The comments only very occasionally are worth reading in full, and that is a bummer. While sot is correct that whining about the meanness is useless, I think being meaner is more useless. We could be having conversations instead of shouting matches. Yeah, I realize that is a lost cause, not least because this space (the whole of the online space) is in the main an information gathering device for entities with way more power than us lowly anarchists, we the superfluous population. So, in a way, the stupid bickering and useless trolling are the best use of a comment section.

My main beef with anews comments is the real hurt feelings you all seem to have with certain persons really should be dealt with off line. Stupid beef is one thing, to confuse & entertain the cops assigned to monitor here, real beef can & will be used against us if and when the ptb (powers that be) need it. I'm beginning to think real anarchy starts with emotional maturity. Haha, oy vey.

Hey, remember letters? We used to send letters. Time to digest conflict, time to word things well.

said it was fun, not useful but I don't have any IRL beefs with anarchists cause nothing online matters to me. others attempt to do real harm but shouldn't we at least be mean to them when they do?

sot- right, I'm the one who put the useless gloss on what you said, I accept full responsibility.

I agree, nothing online matters much, which is why it seems prudent to keep IRL beef IRL, don't bring that online to begin with. But if someone does bring irl conflict online, being mean to them only encourages them to do it more, imo. In this way ignorance really is bliss.

fair enough but we'll have to agree to disagree on whether to fan the flames or deprive them of oxygen. personal preference

" the real hurt feelings you all seem to have with certain persons really should be dealt with off line. "

I don't see how that's workable in most situations. Although its readership appears to be mostly from the Bay Area, there's people from all over NA and even Europe that read this site.

Okay here's my question: If your only interaction with someone is here in the comment section HOW is it that you can have real hurt feelings? No, I'm being sincere here. If some stranger is mean to you online you do not have to take that in, or take it personally. Maybe I'm misunderstanding your point (a thing that happens online a lot, perhaps you've noticed, ;-) ).
But if you're saying you've had irl dealings with someone and then one of you moved and now you're both using the public comment section of anews to work it out, well, I don't know what to say. That is sad.

I also mentioned writing letters. Letters are great for long distance communication.

you're reading way too much into what I've said, which wasn't much...

"If your only interaction with someone is here in the comment section HOW is it that you can have real hurt feelings?"

Well I can feel angry or irate at trolls for -mostly our of misinformation or being reactionary pissant- their bitching at tendencies or projects I've been supportive of, irl, for instance. Attacking values that drives us is always irritating no matter if on or offline. Then you also get to have some edgy fool who shows up just to poo on your "rug".

But there's also the lesser personal and more collective issue of lowering the level in quality of discourse, something trolls are always good at.

I enjoy the level of moderation on this site for the most part. Of course there's been a few long-standing issues of lenience toward certain behavior (I'm looking at the Emile troll back in the days, or the LeWay annoyance) that gave the place a bad name, tho that was eventually settled. There's a liberty of discussion that you clearly don't get on other anarcho media, and the absence of up/downvote makes it that you also have a liberty of judgement from group influence.

The site sometimes succeeds to make it for an intellectually-stimulating experience, even if it doesn't reach the ideal model of having discussions directly based and dependent on reading of the articles (where I admit also having the bad tendency of going straight to the comments).

On the irl dealings... Like I said, sometimes there's no other way than a place like here for sending echoes out of your echo chamber to another; or where it can be counter-productive irl, this can perhaps produce some discussion online that wouldn't be happening irl due the burden of politics. I'm living for instance in a town where in the leftoid milieu things are never, ever communicated openly but rather through hush-hush and behind-the-curtain convos at a distance. There's this culture of cowardice, typical of the "radical" petty bourgeoisie that predominates what can be referred to as the "anarchist" milieu.

I guess I wonder a bit about the kinds of anarchism that are most present in internet talk. Like, in the pre-igd days when a-news was a first home for a lot more action reports, critique was frequently harsh, but there was a shared feeling that most folks talking had actual IRL projects. The anarchist online space seems much more interested in the production of opinion than it used to be. Just reacting to things that are circulating. I like raddke, but it doesn't really feel like there is a strategic or tactical conversation taking place there, with actions answering each other and engagement in critique. That happens a bit on igd, but there is a flatness there, where all different kinds of actions are presented side by side without the ideas they carry being elaborated fully or brought into contact with each other. Local sites are better for that -- there are way fewer comments on conflict mn, mtl counter info, philly anti cap, north shore etc but there is more of a sense of coherency and a shared commitment. It could be I'm spoiled by having a bunch of anarchists where I live, with a social centre, local site, various crews who publish texts, but online anarchist conversation has never felt less interesting to me than it has in the last few years and I don't think it's me who changed.

This jives with watching a drought of anarchist projects IRL. Something something changing demographics, something something the cyborg kids do less public shit and/or the grumpy older @s didn't try to pass the torch as often as they could have?

and yes, you're spoiled haha

the correct term is *jibes* which means accords. jive means fake.

Right you are! my bad.

I don’t find a whole lot of value on IGD because it’s so slanted towards mainstreaming lefty activist anarchism. I feel like A News has the most nuanced selection if you can sort through the snark and trolling. Have always had great luck with local anarchist newspapers and media projects in hearing about what others around town are getting up to. Though sometimes there’s an issue of who is being publicized and given a voice on those platforms. In general though feels good to find local anarchist news in print out and about around town.

The anonymous nature of Anews kills it for me. The comments are filled with smug posturing and toxic attacks against everyone else. Raddle is much more community-focused and the conversations are always friendly and thoughtful. Reddit is hot garbage, filled with woke liberals posing as anarchists and shaming any actual anarchists for being anarchists.

Isn't Raddle just the nonprofit version of Reddit's /r/anarchism and /r/socialism, yet that also requires javascripts to be activated for logging and posting?

Raddle doesn't require javascript and it's run by anarchists (and not the red kind of "anarchists" either).

"it's run by anarchists (and not the red kind of "anarchists" either)"



Look at the list of admins in the wiki and then browse their post histories... Anticiv, post-left, nihilist, etc.

Book written by the founder of raddle. It's pure black and green. Alternatively:

Their politics aren't exactly hard to discern.

No reason given.

Looks like our usual social media ID politicians are among the mods, as they probably didn't like my ruling out of trans as not being queer, and also my claim that it is potentially conductive (as opposed to queer) of conservative, authoritarian cultures. This, after admitting that there IS a thing such as cis oppression (yet that didn't matter to them, I was already marked as Pure Satan).

Same liberal leftie politics than /r/anarchism, but maybe even worse.

You can look at my comments as "simianthrope" for reference, if they haven't deleted those as well.

Okay for honesty's sake I'll have to withdraw my comment above at 21:21 as I noticed that the reason for the bans appears to be due to Raddle's automated anti-spambot block that makes bans happen often when used through Tor. So even if that site is plagued with the same old ultra-liberals than elsewhere on social media, I can't at least say that its moderators are this type of Left fascists.

No it doesn't need javascript and it even has an onion site for complete anonimity.

^said the anonymous... Poster

Raddle is much more community-focused and the conversations are always friendly and thoughtful'

Are you joking? Last time I was on there there was a stalker who replied to every other thread with 'HAHA OMG YOU SUCK' and other 'everyone is stupid except me' garbage. No one did anything because the crazy person was a regular and a friend of the mods.

For serious anarchist news I check out the anarchist blog universe, a bit of Crimethinc, some IGD now and then but more often the likes of Act For Freedom Now, 325, Contra Info etc - old but reliable for no frills direct action. I also check out a lot of podcasts, including The Brilliant and the weekly A-News podcast. When I want to revisit my younger days of stale cheetos, spilled bong water and semen encrusted underpants I check out Anarchist News. I'm not interested in online 'conversations' at all, because they aren't even conversations. Maybe the conversation brigade should just start an anarchist talk show like Geraldo or something with Aragorn hosting and be done with it.

if even if the people associated with it are more sensitive and id-pol than what you find on here. Their news also appeals to generalized revolt hence the title, both @news and IGD cross pollinate with the left on occasion, which makes since because leftism and anarchism have a lot in common broadly speaking.

I find @news more delightful than IGD simply because IGD are still wrap up in leftist, Tiqqunist communisation crap. @news still get high on academia like leftists but at least there is more nihilism and individualism here.

hey, don't make it look like there's no love for IGD here with your reverse psychology troll.
only reason we don't get to show it love over there is because they don't have comments.
how come it's going down and we're invited but we don't have a say?
i even leave nice comments under the sole stuff.

they just have some low-analysis political positions and have reactionary viewpoints to a lot of the non-left and nihilist points of views that have become more popular over the years.

their journalism/rhetoric isn't too shabby:

Very well written article and something i semi-relate to living in a red state. However, they seem to be catering to a very left-oriented viewpoint, the word magicians are stirring up more prejudice against rednecks! The biggest problem with left anarchists is they seem to be completely obsessed with right wing politics that they can't even properly analyze the role they play in the real world.

"The biggest problem with left anarchists is they seem to be completely obsessed with right wing politics that they can't even properly analyze the role they play in the real world."

i wouldn't call that their biggest problem, but i strongly agree about that obsession. i always found the anarchist obsession with leftists similarly useless. know your enemy, for sure. but obsess over them? they might as well have direct control over you.

"leftism and anarchism have a lot in common broadly speaking"

historical, graybeard social anarchism, maybe. my anarchy is antithetical to leftism.

leftism is about "equality" through centralized, authoritarian control. anarchy is about unique individuals relating in completely voluntary and anti-authoritarian ways.

Overall I like this TOTW just because so many people come on here and get mad about the conversations. You could call it trolling, cyberbullying, people not being able to take criticism ("whiny snowflakes"), but overall i just feel like people here are really snarky and mean spirited. I'm not pretending to be an exception here; sometimes i enjoy insulting, being insulted, and watching people say the hilarious degrading/sarcastic things that they do.

However, trying to police the forum based on what flaming/bullying is has its own problems. First of all, the majority of the insults here are indirect insults, generalizations about groups of people or a form of sarcastic mockery. I don't think either of these should disappear entirely, it's also really hard to talk about anarchism (which is basically a social philosophy) without fleshing out some of the disturbing opinions that we all have about each other. Also, thecollective already tries to police the forum based on how trollish and mean spirited the posts are, but in reality they erase around 50% of the worst instances of this and just let the rest of them stay up here, which is very confusing.

This is really the only forum i've used in my adult years with this level of hostility and spite. IMO most forums suffer from a problem of over-policing, so what could change about this forum that would veer it into having better discussions?

If people were not able to post as an anon name or a guest name, then what everyone says on here would have a history and a context like it does in real life. People would still troll but it wouldn't be as cute or mysterious anymore. And since everyone would be able to attach a style and personality to people, then every user would be a tiny bit more self-conscious of what they said.

The best part of this idea is that it would make it slightly harder to post on the forum in general. @101 and @news allow(ed) anon posts because it protects the identity of the people posting, but in the end it doesn't really do so any better than the internet naturally does in terms of not wanting the other people on the forum to know who you are. The ultra-security conscious could start a fake email address using fake names, which is NOT DIFFICULT AT ALL.

@101 is actually proof that allowing anon posts is in fact a huge security risk to the website. People just took advantage of this fact and spammed it like crazy, and now the forum is shut down. So: if the mods here simply required username, password, email to post, stopped removing crazy numbers of comments, and then removed usernames that are just spam accounts in disguise, removed spamming, i think this forum would be way better than it currently is.

I've actually tried to register usernames on this forum because i like the flavor that having a username gives, but the collective never sent the approval email, and my successfully verified "Nihilist" account got fucked up for some reason, i used a password to create the account that's very easy to remember and used on so many accounts i have yet it was claiming i had the wrong password. Something wierd is going on with the current system to have usernames.

at this point in time (contrary to me at the beginning of last year or previous to that) i completely agree.
it took the lobbying of a harassment campaign of committed trolls to convince me of that it might be a good idea to make username only. i fear that measure might not stop the behaviors you seek to discourage. is the measure a true solution or wishful thinking to cure our ails. maybe if we are more frequently nicer to each other, we could alleviate the sting and hurt and toxicity from the trolling and even things out. i think we do get carried away because we think we're not hurting ourselves or anyone, that it's just harmless fun. but we do have feelings and we're often eroding each other's dignity while typing away.
i get that we have disdain and no respect for authority, and even some disgust at "humanity" (with a special tier for the commenters of forums like these, jk?), but something resembling a basic respect might make it a more pleasurable experience overall.

and i've actually had many good and productive conversations on here, but sometimes i screw up and i don't adequately respond to criticism, or worse i get mad at the trolls and i start trolling them, in the end only trolling myself.

This forum is interesting the respect that i feel the trolls on here are often more clever and inventive than the right-wingers, but still cruelty is cruelty at the end of the day, and we should have the strength to refrain from it...

I guess...i think that one of the natural ways that all animals respond to cruelty is an angry aggression, so to expect people to always be strong in the face of adversity is a corny western spook.

not mutually exclusive. it was both.

in the digital commons...that must be worth something? Are there other spaces where anons can post?

I've always found that no matter how unpleasant people find the internet to be, the real world is far worse.

if we make the internet better comparatively, would we only be encouraging people to withdraw from it and to make it worse in turn, or does it make people happier, and therefore overall nicer irl etc?

"if we make the internet better comparatively, would we only be encouraging people to withdraw from it and to make it worse in turn, or does it make people happier, and therefore overall nicer irl etc?"

one of the things i haven't appreciated about general anarchist writings is their continued dependence on demonizing safety valves and lighter forms of therapy. If you start doing to much damage to the institutions that anarchists are against, you probably won't eliminate it, and the harm you do to those institutions will only hurt you.

Part of better using the internet is realizing the basic problems with it, and also seeing that ways in which RL is better and worse.

You do realize many of us have seen this before a few times, yes? A relatively earnest person like yourself will start to hang around the forums and often, they'll raise the issue of toxic anon posting in some form.

Problem is, you're assuming you have some new insight when it's just as likely that people have already carefully considered the topic and they just fundamentally disagree with you.

I made a similar mistake with the whole "deplatforming" thing awhile back. Always possible that others have given something a lot of thought already.

I've never seen what i've typed before (just that one comment above) on this website. I'm very well aware that other people have probably said the same thing before, and that i'm not that unique. I'm certainly not "special".

And putting the burden of being original, especially on a website that regularly recycles content, is not reasonable. That's kind of like expecting the people on here to thoroughly read the articles multiple times on here before commenting. Expectations are largely un-productive and are based on a fantasy world.

Also, to beat this dead horse more ferociously, something being corny does not make it BS or "shitty", those attributes being very similar for obvious reasons lol. I think I'm going to leave my copy of the tao te ching on my desk so i can leave a quote at the end of every post i make on here, just to re-emphasize my easily steal able screen name.

I'm not accusing you of being unoriginal..? I'm pointing out that you might be splaining the pitfalls of anon posting to a bunch of people who already know these things very well.

but that also leaves open the question: How would i, who has not met anybody associated with this site, possibly know whether what i'm saying is just painfully redundant?

Le's decode the title of the TOTW:

"TOTW: Niches and Roles and Eco-systems Oh My"


i mean, that's at least how i'm hearing the article title having been on here for a while. This website is an ironic punishment for its moderators and people who spend a lot of time using it.

Because I'm telling you that? Right now? That's how you would know. Me telling you. Right now.

however the real world is worse in part because of the internet, the internet encourages people to be super cold and ghosty with each other. The internet also does degrade communication skills for most people, even though i've largely used it to help myself in that regard.

even if @news listened to my suggestion, there would still be tons of places you can log in as an anon. All you would have to do on here is create an email address with a fake name. Demanding absolute anonymity on the internet is either for people who are cowardly, paranoid, insecure, actual "dangerous" people, and/or people who are running from the law. I seriously doubt anyone on here is actually running from the law, but hats off to them. Sometimes I've fantasized about the terror and excitement as part of being a fugitive, but probably not a good thing to arrange! One day i think i am actually going to go to a random city and just lie about who i am for this purpose, see how long i can get away with it.

"Demanding absolute anonymity on the internet is either for people who are cowardly, paranoid, insecure, actual "dangerous" people, and/or people who are running from the law. "

now you sound like a freakin leftist (or rightist)! have your uninformed judgements if you must.

You keep dodging the crux of the matter, which is... you're yourself using online anonymity while at the same time throwing a bunch of dumb moralist accusations at all those people valuing online anonymity.

Now wait... Just got breaking news from abroad: you're an idiot.

"Now wait... Just got breaking news from abroad: you're an idiot."

moralistic? what? You clearly didn't even take the time to better consider what i said. I thought this was a relatively open forum, but clearly you're only trying to make me feel shitty about myself.

telling me i'm an idiot and getting bent out of shape for criticizing identity paranoia, which is everywhere on the internet, is actually moralistic. If people actually had to have some sort of identifier attached with them for posting here, then they would be more careful about what they said, because other people would recognize patterns of shitty behavior, and don't expect anyone to forgive you or accept you for being a cyberbully. You're actually proving what i said by rage commenting in this manner.

No, anon "TaoistSlut", the issue is you as you started by desecrating people over valuing their anonymity online, calling them "paranoid" or criminals. You clearly have missed the mark and younare using the same misconceptions commonly expressed by authoritarian sheeple, that using Tor, for instance, is for drug dealers, terrorists and pedos. While that is a small part of the truth, like any moralist demagogue stereotype it is vastly exqggerating things in favor of the worst position around.

Spoken like a true drug dealing terrorist moralist demogogue criminal

Real anarchobois olny use anonymity for making hilarious comment on cyberline


of course the real world is far worse. but it is also far better. it's called LIFE. has its ups and downs, but at least it is LIVED.

Yeah, that's my point too. I much prefer the real world and the only thing sadder than hiding from it online, is pretending that your electric hallucination problems are real too. Doubling down on your demands for better human centipede poop flavours from mark zuckerberg.

i think the collective should install a module that allows folks to upvote/downvote comments.

go to reddit if u want non-verbal dopamine hits and ego boosts

Or Raddle for added moralist anal retentive satisfaction, where you can also ban people for obscure reasons.

voice anon below, why would anyone want to be able to vote on comments? That drives such ridiculous spectacular...whatever.

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