Category Archives: Uncategorized

Quinn Norton: Trolling, “Men Are Raised To Hate Women” and Other Confusing Statements.

They See Me Trollin'

Twitter has been big news of late, with reports that they plan to implement an abuse reporting function.  I’ve been asked a few times what my thoughts are on the matter, and I’m all for it.

Threatening and unlawful behaviour is completely unacceptable and those who engage in such a manner should be held accountable.  I displayed my willingness to side with this sentiment recently by reporting a clearly threatening tweet (not to me) to the police.

My only concern is: how will this be regulated?  Will Twitter have the manpower (or women!!!!!) to efficiently distinguish abusers and trollers from genuine disagreement or attempts to engage in meaningful discourse? Given the vast numbers of Twitter users and the seemingly unrealistic task of policing it, is it likely to be an unmanned,  automated process?  An algorithm simply reacting to multiple ‘abuse reports’? Only time will tell.

‘Troll’ seems the buzzword of late.  The problem is, that “troll” in the context of the internet has no unified definition.  I personally take trolling to mean the act of intentionally making insincere statements to an individual, or individuals in order to provoke a response, or as they would call it,  a “victory”. Others use it simply to describe an individual who seeks out arguments online.

I’m trolled daily in the former sense. People will tweet me en masse with clearly disingenuous statements in the hope that I may respond.  Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t.  It often depends on how dull my commute to work is that morning.

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Shorty Awards Campaign Video and Logo Design Thanks

A big thank you to those who have voted for me in The Shorty Awards so far.

I tried my hand at short “Campaign Video”:

Before making the video I called for fellow Twitter comrades to submit designs for a “Godless Spellchecker” type logo.  I got a handful of submissions, which is amazing.  Thank you.

I eventually chose the below design for my video:

think_logo

Design by @mgoodingartist

Please see below the further excellent designs I received.  I hope to use these in future projects:

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Calling all Creative Types for Homework Assignment

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Dear Comrades,

As I’m currently “campaigning” for a Shorty Award (everyone likes a pat on the back), the organisation encourages nominees to create a campaign video to promote their “cause”.

I have a few ideas rattling around and hope to have something edited together for the Weekend of Jan 19th .  I may also fail miserably and not bother.

This is where you come in.

I would love to have a logo/wallpaper/and or banner that I can use as a graphic in my campaign video.  Something that reflects the activity of the @GSpellchecker account, and contains either  “@GSpellchecker” or “Godless Spellchecker” if possible.  Perhaps incorporating stop signs, perhaps not if you have a better idea. Be creative!

I will then incorporate it into my video, then upload the video to this blog when/if it is completed.  I will also display all the designs, including those that were unused (if any are actually received!) and their creator’s details, along with a link to a social network/website of their choice on my blog, along with a thank you of course.

I’m excited to hear from you and thank you.

Please email graphics to [email protected]*. Please ensure you include your name, and a link of your choice for credit.

GS

*By emailing your designs to me, you grant me permission to use it across various media formats, however desired. I will never claim artistic responsibility for your work.

 

“Fear and Faith” and misplaced criticism

Popular UK illusionist Derren Brown recently ran a two-part TV programme entitled “Fear and Faith”.  The second part of the programme, “Faith” looked at explaining belief in God from the perspective of hard-wired emotional need. It can be viewed here (for UK residents at least).

During the broadcast of this TV show, many of my Twitter comrades tweeted me to ask if I had tuned in.

Whilst watching the show I made a quick search of the related #FearAndFaith hash tag to take in a brief sample of the reaction and commentary.  This is where I found the following statement (my comments are preceded by a “+”):

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Mona Eltahawy Confuses Free Speech With Vandalism

Free speech has been a huge topic of contention in recent weeks, the same weeks which saw the deaths of 75 people and violent rage across several countries in reaction to a horrendously made YouTube video entitled “Innocence of Muslims”. 

Debate has been rampant ever since regarding what constitutes the limits of free speech, and what rights we have, if any to offend “sacred” ideas and beliefs.  New calls have been made to the UN for a Blasphemy Law and the ever-present cries of “Islamophobia!” are as tediously frequent as baby photos on a Facebook news feed.

Amid all this apologist rhetoric, one point seems frustratingly absent, or marginalised:

It is wrong to murder/react violently simply for being offended.

A failure to stand up for this point, and this point alone, is a failure to respond as a responsible human adult.

It is true that bigoted far right groups capitalise on Islamic unrest in order to advance their racist agenda and we should afford them no more than our dissent.  This, however should not distract us from the genuine concerns we have with the unique and reactionary nature of Islam.

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Leigh Patrick Sullivan, The Truth About “Atheist Tolerance” and Other Self-Delusion

I spend a significant portion of my time debating and exchanging views with fellow primates on Twitter.  I make a rule of never being abusive, hostile or assuming to know what someone else believes.  I frequently pose my responses as questions, in order to avoid being presumptuous.

I also never tell anyone they haven’t the right to believe what they want to believe, as this would clearly be wrong.  I think the most I am guilty of is sarcasm, mockery and ridicule.  I’m perfectly comfortable with this.

I make sure I deal with the actual statements put forward, whether they are made to me specifically or to the “Twitterverse” in general. I aim to do this as calmly as possible and in a civil manner, often pointing out logical fallacies, or citing sources to address failures to understand established scientific concepts or terminology.

I’ve sent more than 11,000 tweets, and when I receive responses they often take the form of glaring ignorance, foul language/abuse/hostility/threats. I have never responded in kind.  I simply don’t need to.  Once someone decides to engage in that way, they lose any and all credibility, and I chalk it off as a victory. #AnotherSatisfiedCustomer.

It is confusing to me that religion appears to be the only domain of discourse where the mildest form of criticism at its expense is labelled as “intolerant” or “aggressive”.

This is especially concerning given the influence religion exudes on society as a whole.  There seems to be a growing trend, born out of desperation, to label any criticism of religion, however mild as “aggressive atheism”, or “militant atheism”, often atheism is interchanged with secularism to the same extent, but the same fallacy remains. Read more

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