TOTW: Communication

dawgz > society!

Hello. Never before has there been so much communication within the anarchist space, but perhaps, so little [sic]. There are so many podcasts, news sites for specific anarchist locales, video projects hosted outside of YouTube, blogging platforms hosted away from the big sites, and social media links the plenty that lead outside of the new normal, among the plethora, if you're following closely.

Looking back some years, both Indymedia dot org and Infoshop News played a central role in online anarchist conversations. Today, a lot of or perhaps most indymedia projects have died out in most places (but not all) alongside formerly popular anarchist websites like []. ANEWS was created in the shell of Infoshop News, and one aspect that seemed to lead to the downfall of iNews, was a strict comment moderation policy (comments that disagreed with [chuck0] down the memory hole). The comments lead to wonderful springs; welcome to ANEWS today.

Alongside the anonymous ANEWS commentary, over the years other anarchist projects trying to self-host comments like IGD and CrimethInc. have fallen back onto third party hosts like social media, to share commentary, and all things via social media (Facebook and Twitter, mostly) to get around this comment conundrum.

Where is the indymedia project alive? What can anarchists learn from this? Other anarchist media, counter-info projects, please share your successes and failures. How do you share? How are y'all doing in the quarantine? How do anarchists do media right?

There are 44 Comments

Lots of interesting questions raised by this TOTW. One that's not made explicitly as a question, but strongly implied by the middle paragraphs, is how to do comment moderation?

Let's be clear that allowing and moderating open anonymous commenting, as anews does, is not the easy choice. It means dealing with bucketloads of spam, various kinds of hostility and malice, and basically takes a lot of fucking time.

But it is the right choice. The alternatives, as the TOTW author describes, are fucking awful. Every anarchist website that outsources commenting to companies like Facebook and DDoS protection to companies like CloudFlare should be fucking ashamed and should post one of those oh-so-popular humiliating public apology videos on their Privacy page. "Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa." The anews path here requires lots of DIY spirit -- to me a sign that it's a meaningfully anarchist path.

With that said, DIY also means all of us readers and commenters are part of the process, and I think a thing more of us can try to do is push for good-faith discussions when conflictual conversations emerge. I'm thinking of dot's comment here: . On any other site Sir Eizige probably would have been banned a decade ago for not toeing the line correctly. I'm glad he's here. It means that interesting discussions happen that wouldn't happen anywhere else. How to make them better? (Less name-cally, less angry-keyboard-warrior...)

One final thought: comment threads on news sites are inherently limiting in terms of discussion because they drop down the pages (unlike on forums where new comments bump the threads up) and for design reasons. Are there other kinds of anarchist discussion sites you'd like to see?

i think moderation should be done by the "community", not by some elite group with the power to control what gets seen. and let me be clear, i am not dissing the collective per se. but there is no question that comments have been removed that never should have been. to me, no comment should ever be removed, that is nothing more than cancel culture.

on my ideal site, every comment could be somehow rated. when a comment reaches some threshold, say 10 negative ratings, it is visually highlighted as such. same idea with positive ratings. detecting multiple ratings from the same anonymous users is a challenge, and it would never be 100%, but it is reasonably doable (i've done it).

it would also be possible for any user to block comments from any other user. which allows each individual to decide who they want to see, rather than that decision being made by the authority. that does raise the question of anonymous vs pseudonymous. i think i have mostly seen here that folks prefer anonymous, which prevents anyone from distinguishing between different voices using the same handle. i personally prefer pseudo, where nobody can be actually identified, but every comment can be distinguished by who posts it.

just some thoughts...

The upvoting/downvoting and the per-user blocking are both interesting ideas that I think should be considered, though I don't know how high the technical "cost" would be for implementing them.

But I completely disagree that "no comment should ever be removed, that is nothing more than cancel culture." Personally I'd want less comments removed than currently are -- for example I like the wignutty ones that seem written by outsiders -- but there are definitely good reasons to remove comments, for example comments that doxx people.

"for example comments that doxx people."

agreed, i stand corrected on that one.

i think moderation should be done by the people who built and maintain the website based on their vision, not by some"community" with the power to complain on something they had no part in creating. and let me be clear, i am not dissing the entitled trolls per se. but there is no question that comments have been made that should have been. to me, no troll comment should ever be allowed to remain, that is nothing more than 4chan.

on my ideal site, that i do not know how to build so i try to enforce my views on others' sites, every comment could be somehow deleted.

everyone come to my house and tell me how to live thank you

"to me, no troll comment should ever be allowed to remain,"

so you are ok with an authority determining what should be allowed to remain, rather than you being able to simply block/hide (from your individual view) people and comments you don't like. sounds pretty regulatory to me.

but let me also be clear about this: when someone goes to the effort of creating something themselves, which they choose to share with others, they can absolutely do whatever the fuck they want. i was simply describing some ideas about how a site *might* work.

"so you are ok with an authority determining what should be allowed to remain"

like bakunin's shoemaker, i am that authority determining what adorns the pair of shoes that i made. fuck any croc-wearing, non-shoemaker coming into my shoe palace, demanding how i make or adorn my shoes.

I think any anti troll policy is stupid, because overall who is trolling is very subjective, and trolls imo lively discussions, get people excited and talking.

I find that way too fucking naive... at best.

Trolls aren't lively discussion" but drones basically just repeating the same attention whore gimmicks, over and over. They contribute very little to intelligent or educative discussion, if at all, as their goal is to disrupt discussions, making them devolve in the direction of their own trash world

the first point i made, that "a troll" is subjective, sometimes people call somebody a troll because their comments are deemed "rediculous", so if you have this "no troll" rule thats just a way of degrading something you do not find acceptable.

why would anyone not "degrade" something they do not find acceptable?

you are rediculous (sic)

people hence will will always degrade something they cant tolerate, therefore people will always be somewhat authoritarian....

right? im not actually interested in continuing this conversation with you because im not really that interested in using or "trolling" this forum anymore, i was just always under the impression that authoritarians want to degrade every single thing they cant tolerate...and you seem to have that opinion, that this is the way we will create the "good communication", is to excommunicate those who use the "bad communication"....

"honestly CS, wtf.
people being rude is not authoritarian. people not liking someone is not authoritarian.
your definitions are uselessly broad/vague/idiosyncratic."

so if you didnt notice i never said any if those things, i was only responding to "how do you not degrade something you dont find example?"

easy: its called cunning, lying, deceit, or simply not wanting to respond. I believe i can relate to what 19:17 was saying above, that what is considered trolling is not always so clear...does a pressure to make oneself honest mean they always will be? Do people even always know when they are lying? thats why i agree with the anon above that an "anti troll" policy for any sort of forum is 100% less effective than basing the content on something more or less concrete...

so go on, be rude, troll, whatever you have to do...anon...i guess if your goal is to make me mad then just continue to not understand forever because that will work as i know you are capable of perhaps using ur brain just a wee bit (sorry if that language is strange i am brit ya know)

I'm an ex-troll, and its like being an ex-con, people never really ever trust you again, aĺthough you've done your time, faced alot of deletions, been cursed and insulted, you slowly learn some stuff about yourself, bad stuff, and you make amends. You all talk about --NO MORE PRISONS--, yet you all stigmatize the troll, the prison on the outside of society, the criminal wordsmith who breaks laws of ettiquette, and is executed (deleted) for their crime against taste, decency and ethics. I am a cured ex-troll, SHAME ON THE CENSORS!

We all feel very bad for you.

But wait, how does your past trolling get held against you, when you are anon? Language patterns?

Full disclosure: I am an ex-troll myself, though I have relapses ;)

Yes "language patterns". I'm overly precise with my "exclamation marks" ;)

I tend to shout alot in communicating LIKE THIS because I feel I'm not BEING LISTENED TO!!!

hi Calvin, different anon here.
would you care to tell us about your commitment to being a nuisance to anarchists which extends beyond this site? we all saw that your faux pas with DD, due to the insolence and imprudence that are distinctive traits of yours.

i don't really want to be a nuisance but when putting on that very tall hat it becomes a delicacy, and also i'm not totally sure WAHT you are referring to but am looking forward to remaining the same ass-hat yet not, yet not at all.

An update is due, to the whole way of conceiving our relation with communications through the internet, and maybe even our relation to language as a whole. This whole "I think therefore I am" turned into "I speak my thoughts, therefore I am"and the internet equivalent of "I appear, therefor I am". Do we know how to be with each other without speaking? Is "I am, therefore I speak, or therefore I can do any of the things I can do, like be in silence" too far fetched to consider? Do we see ourselves using the internet increasingly and indefinitely?

This always on, 24/7, second by the second news, blurb cycle of twitter. A lot is said to fill in the silence. Because on the internet you don't have presence and relevance unless you're making noise or are visible. Can anarchists be with each other in silence and in darkness?

There are things that can't be shared in these media, due to technical limitations, and due to surveillance and repression, and the consequences of that. What has visibility gotten us? Do we yearn to be used as scapegoats by those who can name us but not even come close to understand us? Conspiracy is at an all time low, posturing is at an all-time high. People who dare to do modest subversive acts of destruction are snitched on by others who post on twitter for clout, or self snitch to reckless clout-seeking or neglectful slip-ups that are all to easy when you have a wide and extensive online presence. (Some aspects of the "online" conversation were previously discussed here

We can't expect crowds to have the technical aptitudes and inclinations needed to migrate to more secure and decentralized autonomous online networked infrastructures, but at the same time those who do shouldn't wait and should be uncompromising in doing so. The less of us get caught and dragged down in this dragnet 2.0, the better, even if most are left behind. Projects to help others migrate are helpful.

This might have been an annoying direction to take conversation, there are other friendlier aspect i could get to in another comment.

because it sheds light on some of the things I was curious about in terms of the comment policy. I have complained a lot on here about my comments getting deleted, I am of the opinion that it would be fine
to keep up all comments except spam. I've had a lot of my comments deleted that were totally innocuous or very lightly critical. The only comments that really hurt capacity for discussion are the flame posts, because it makes people defensive, and overall it's just not interesting, sometimes funny though.

one person's "totally innocuous" is not another person's.
the mods here do not want to be removing comments, it is not our version of a good time, or of a good policy. when we do it, we believe it's to help the conversation overall. obviously people will disagree with us, but that is inevitable no matter what we do.

this isn't about mods doing whatever we want with the site we run, nor is it about being beholden to or reliant on some amorphous group that wants to call itself a community (or, more typically, some rando anon that wants to speak for something called a community).
we are part of a group that is bigger than us, and we are also in a specific role/position. we negotiate those as best we can.
it's good to have the space to remind people about this from time to time, and also to hear comments recommending we use some anon-respecting, vote-enabling, secure and affordable, attractive, easy to install and use and modify software (that totally exists! i've done it!) that would solve all our problems.
thecollective member .4

that there will always be disagreements about the quality/offensiveness of content, yet it was just a little unsettling to me and kind of insulting that some of the things i said were not by my standards offensive at all that got removed, yet then i see stuff that stays up thats insulting or makes harsher and more sweeping generalizations, but w/e i dont pretend to know whats in the end good material or bad material any better than you do. I guess i personally get bothered by having the things i say be controlled by other people but it seems like theres always going to be some element of that. I personally prefer not to control what other people say but to insert my own opinion when i find something to be stupid or objectionable, maybe the role of moderators is they could join conversations and say what they dont like about something? idk

every time you change names, to identify who you are, indicates that your issues and how you communicate them, are not like other people's. i for one have no desire for the mods to cater to your specific whims and fancies. you do occasionally make a good comment, even if frequently it's mixed up with a bunch of random butthurt for no apparent good reason, so let's just hope for more of the good and less of the everyone's-out-to-get-me.

"indicates that your issues and how you communicate them, are not like other people's."

you're suggesting that birdbrain's issues and how they communicate should conform to be good like other peoples or else they should accept that there unlikeness "indicates something"? what does it indicate ? should they be more like other people's??? (!)


Never has there been less communication, cause "online communication" made people incapable to.
And whats an anarchist space?

My memory is that infoshop news got too watered down by liberal articles, and thus anews was born and thrived out of people’s frustration with this. Then anews induced mass frustration with years of inside-jokey, snarky rollovers and a growing avalanche of trolling comments- making meaningful communication in the comments all but impossible. From those frustrations (and also seemingly from Bay Area frustrations I’m not privy to), igd was born and is thriving. And now there’s growing frustration with igd’s lack of space for discussion, their bravado, cheerleading, obsession with fascism, and general leftism (heard them on NPR the other day:-0) What will now rise from these frustrations?

I mostly stick to the fediverse/Mastodon. For those who are not aware this is a decentralized social network service where anybody can run their own server (or "instance") that connects to the wider fediverse. Each instance has their own moderation policy that can range from libertine to draconian allowing people to self-sort according to their own preferences in moderation. Most of these instances are funded by donations instead of advertiser money so you avoid a lot of the anti-features in mainstream social network services which exist to benefit advertisers instead of users.

There are a couple downsides but the most obvious one is small audience. On the other hand, it feels kind of niche and subcultural which has its own value in my opinion.

FEDiverse? seriously?

yeah, i know about federations. like i said...

FEDiverse? seriously?

If we didn't have dweeb censorship, unaccountable to anyone, online anarchy would be impossible!

And Yet You Use Those Evil Big Tech Platforms. Curious!

It’s common for right-libertarians to attack — with some justification — the stupidity of those who equate opposing a law or government agency with opposing some value or goal in its name. Wanting to abolish the Department of Education, for example, doesn’t mean you’re against education. But right libertarians are guilty of a somewhat related fallacy themselves, as we will see shortly.

Another, similar fallacy, of which pro-capitalist apologists are disproportionately guilty, is exemplified by the social media retort “anti-capitalists with iPhones LOL.” Matt Bors mocked this fallacy with the widely circulated cartoon in which a peasant says “We should improve society somewhat” — to which a right-wing troll in a well replies “Yet you participate in society. Curious! I am very intelligent.”

Implicit in the troll’s reply is the assumption that if we will the range of benefits which are currently available, we necessarily also will the current institutional arrangements by which they are delivered. But this argument would rule out any critique of social structures or institutions in any society, since the only way to receive benefits in any society is through the social mechanisms which deliver them. A defender of the Soviet planned economy might have challenged a free market advocate in identical terms: “And yet you live in a house, wear clothes, have furniture and appliances, etc., all of which were produced in state factories responsible to the industrial ministries, in accordance with a Five-Year Plan. Curious!”

Elizabeth Nolan Brown, in two articles at Reason a few days apart, demonstrates both fallacies in spades. In “Democrats Hate Facebook. Republicans Want To Ban TikTok. The Bipartisan Backlash Against Big Tech Is Here and It’s a Disaster” (August 13), she writes:

Ordinary people have begun to treat the internet, and the opportunities it has created, as a nuisance. Even as their products have transformed nearly every aspect of everyday life, large tech companies have been subject to increasingly negative public perception and attendant political attacks.

She contrasts this mood to a brief period in the spring when Americans appeared to appreciate what the industry had done for them.

…as the U.S. shut down and stayed home in response to the coronavirus, it looked like American tech companies might be making a reputational comeback. With everyone trapped at home and indoors, Big Tech provided a lifeline, connecting Americans to food, entertainment, work, and each other. But America’s temporary truce with Big Tech wasn’t to last. Nearly five months into the pandemic, it appears any newfound goodwill earned by Silicon Valley has already been burned.

“There was a small window of time where everyone was grateful that technology was allowing us to continue to function as a society despite our inability to gather in physical spaces,” Santa Clara University law professor Eric Goldman tells Reason. “And yet that gratitude wore off so quickly. Everyone just went right back to hating on internet companies and forgetting all the great things we’re benefiting from today.”…

…Even as Big Tech has benefited ordinary people in countless ways, political backlash to the size and power of America’s largest technology companies — what some insiders call “techlash” — is coming stronger than ever….

Think about all the ways digital tools and tech companies have ensured access to up-to-date and diverse information during the pandemic. Think about all the online streaming services, interactive video games, e-book purveyors, podcast makers, and apps that have been keeping us entertained. The many kinds of free chat services letting us keep in touch with friends, family, and colleagues. The online educational tools he

"Another, similar fallacy, of which pro-capitalist apologists are disproportionately guilty, is exemplified by the social media retort “anti-capitalists with iPhones LOL.”

That's a straw man for the actual issue of liberals and Lefties who got sold to Apple for decades, even as Apple was revealed to be an active player in the PRISM program, as well as outsourcing most of their production to China, and also doing the worst of the worst imaginable tech as they made anti-features trendy. I mean iPhones no longer even fucking have a headphones/mic plug, damnit...

So I can't think of anyone else than a tool or a moron to be using iPhones. And so-called anticaps before everyone else. Just like the Facebook idiots, they're reducing themselves to be volunteer agents of a brutally exploitative corporation.

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