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- You assert in the post that linked to in a previous comment that "fringe" groups are less likely to publicly voice their opinions if they feel they are supported by others. This "spiral of silence" theory posits that declining to engage in debate with "reactionaries" they will retreat from public forums. I interpret that as don't feed the trolls and they will go away.
If that's not accurate then, frankly, I'm not sure what your argument is. Do you see no value in engaging provocateurs? Are you saying that as a public face of atheism/skepticism that how RW chooses to blog/debate on facebook/ post on youtube/ etc. is subject to debate? I'm pretty sure nobody tells you what to write about on your blog.Nov 12, 2011
- My claim isn't that they won't go away, but that they won't multiply. And stop putting terms in quotation marks, it implies that my terminology is somehow made up when in fact it is reinforced by peer reviewed scientific works. No I don't see any inherent value in engaging attention seeking provocateurs whose motive is to spread their own message at any cost. And yes, it is up for debate. She doesn't have to listen. You act like I am the draconian lord of blogs. It's a critique, she can take it or leave it. To quote a rather famous media personality on this very issue:
I was in the middle of a show with some white supremacists, skinheads, Ku Klux Klan members and in the middle of that show I just had a flash, I thought, "This is doing nobody any good, nobody." And I had rationalized the show by saying, "Oh, people need to know that these kinds of people are out here." I won't do it anymore. I just won't do it. There are certain things I won't do [...] I no longer want to give a platform to racists; I just don't because I think no good can come of it. So if you don't know that it exists, I'm sorry, you won't hear it here. But that's growth for me. - Oprah WinfreyNov 12, 2011
- I use quotes to indicate that I am responding to your terms. I did not mean to imply that they were illegitimate.
"You act like I am the draconian lord of blogs. It's a critique, she can take it or leave it."
I guess I am still unclear what this critique is based on. Is it your so far unsupported claim that misogynists can only spread their message on the internet by baiting feminists into response? Or your claim that responding to provocateurs as a means of demonstrating their idiocy is never an effective strategy?Nov 12, 2011
- I love cats! Can't we all just love cats, no more fighting, please?Nov 13, 2011
- “The fact of the matter is that the method Rebecca has chosen has been proven time and time again to be ineffective at changing peoples minds and is actually quite detrimental to her cause.”
Proven? I like that! Proof (or strong evidence) is always welcome. Where is this evidence you refer to (or imply exists) that calling out bigotry is detrimental to the cause of combating it? I notice that you cite Oprah Winfrey in support of your thesis, but I’m pretty sure that the word of Oprah, while accepted religiously in some circles, does not qualify as evidence. (Personally I’m inclined to regard it as weak evidence against the case qua Argument from Highly Suspect Authority.)
Absent this evidence, this is reminiscent of nothing so much as the constant brouhaha of accommodationists acrimoniously castigating outspoken Gnu Atheists for their acrimony, advocating their versions of “framing” &c. without ever actually citing evidence of their own superior track records. (In another parallel, I think it would be wise to consider “fence sitter” effects here as well.)
Personally, I’m inclined to think (though I will not pretend that my beliefs are “proven”) that, as in the stridency debate, there is actually room for more than one approach. I think it’s fine for a blogger or activist to ignore trolls and let them foam in silence (let the bastards be frustrated). I think it’s fine to let them be grilled in comment sections without acknowledging them directly (let your readers tell them what’s what, if you don’t feel your time is best spent addressing them). I think it’s fine to call them out and hang them out to dry. Why not?
One position I find suspect is yours, suggesting that someone is wrong to call bigots our for bigotry. If you do indeed have evidence that this is not merely ineffective, but in fact counterproductive, I will be amenable to adjusting my views, but my a priori view is that this is not merely suspect in its credibility, but also immoral. If you have good evidence of counterproductiveness, I think it would be very valuable to show it and let Rebecca reevaluate her strategy, if she so chooses, but “You should not defend yourself!”, as an admonition, still sounds like a morally problematic statement.Nov 13, 2011
- I don't think you understand the argument. Speaking out about sexism is different than giving a particular person a platform and validation. As for proof, how about this brief list:
Slater, M. D. (2007), Reinforcing Spirals: The Mutual Influence of Media Selectivity and Media Effects and Their Impact on Individual Behavior and Social Identity. Communication Theory, 17: 281–303. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2885.2007.00296.x
Woong Yun, G. and Park, S.-Y. (2011), Selective Posting: Willingness to post a message online. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 16: 201–227. doi: 10.1111/j.1083-6101.2010.01533.x
Neuwirth, K., Frederick, E. and Mayo, C. (2007), The Spiral of Silence and Fear of Isolation. Journal of Communication, 57: 450–468. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-2466.2007.00352.x
Hayes, A. F. (2007), Exploring the Forms of Self-Censorship: On the Spiral of Silence and the Use of Opinion Expression Avoidance Strategies. Journal of Communication, 57: 785–802. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-2466.2007.00368.x
I expect other detractors to have an equally valid list of peer reviewed research if they wish to refute the strategy. Research is greater in weight than anecdotal evidence.Nov 13, 2011