eFanzines Drops N3F Zines After Group’s President Seeks to Promote It on Parler and Gab

Bill Burns announced eFanzines.com has stopped hosting announcements about National Fantasy Fan Federation (N3F) publications since yesterday, after N3F President George Phillies sent an email to his list asking for recipients to promote the N3F on Parler and Gab.

Burns says his response to Phillies’ email (which File 770 also received) was that he found “it hard to believe that this was a serious request.” Burns wrote back: “George: I assume you’re not aware that Parler and Gab are the sites frequented by those who planned and executed the recent attempted insurrection at the Capitol, which resulted in five deaths” and included links to the Wikipedia articles about Parler and Gab which explain their popularity with “Donald Trump supporters, conservatives, conspiracy theorists, and right-wing extremists” “including neo-Nazis, white supremacists, white nationalists, and the alt-right…”

In a related exchange about the decision on a public Facebook group, Phillies justified his interest in making contacts through the two platforms:

Your assumption is simply wrong. I am entirely aware of the namecalling contests that have replaced political discourse in this country.

Whatever their political inclinations — I am mostly not interested in politics these days — these people who use each of the sites I listed are also science fiction fans. If they have been banned from other sites, well, that makes it difficult to reach them using those other sites, now doesn’t it? Curiously, while they are doing stfnal things, they are not doing political things.

Phillies today sent another email to his N3F list:

I will repeat my request for people interested in publicizing the N3F with short posts in places like twitter, parler, gab, etc.  I have already heard complaints from people who think that Parler is full of neo-Nazis or Twitter is full of Communists. (Parler, by the way, is inoperative and empty.)  That completely misses the point, namely both those places are also full of people who are primarily SF fans who could be lured into joining us.

Parler sued Amazon last week after the cloud services provider cut off service, and it has been working to get back online. The Guardian reported today “Parler website partially returns with support from Russian-owned technology firm”.

The network vanished from the internet after it was dropped by Amazon’s hosting arm and other partners over a lack of moderation after its users called for violence and posted videos glorifying the attack on the US Capitol on 6 January.

On Monday, Parler’s website was reachable again, though only with a message from its chief executive, John Matze, saying he was working to restore functionality.

The internet protocol (IP) address it used is owned by DDos-Guard, which is controlled by two Russian men and provides services including protection from distributed denial of service attacks, infrastructure expert Ronald Guilmette told Reuters.

DDoS-Guard’s other clients include the Russian ministry of defence, as well as media organisations in Moscow. Until recently, it offered 8kun – which was previously known as 8chan – protection from DDoS. Last week, DDoS-Guard became the latest company to cut ties with 8kun’s hosting company, VanwaTech, following inquiries from the Guardian.

Gab also has been offline at times over the past couple years, dropped by domestic hosts who cited that many accounts engage in the “perpetuation of hate, violence or discriminatory intolerance,” and then by hosts in Norway for unspecified reasons. It is now hosted by Epik, which the Wikipedia describes as “a domain registrar and web hosting company known for providing services to websites that host far-right, neo-Nazi, and other extremist content.”

The National Fantasy Fan Federation was founded in 1941 by Damon Knight with the support of Art Widner and Louis Russell Chauvenet. George Phillies has been President of the N3F since 2015, and has edited some of its publications. He won the N3F Franson Award for club service in 2015, and in 2019 won one of its speculative fiction awards, the Neffys, Best Novel, for Against Three Lands.

Bill Burns adds:  

I stopped hosting the N3F fanzines a couple of years ago, when I realized that they couldn’t be bothered to update their own website and were using me as an unpaid webmaster instead.  Since then I have been posting announcements whenever Phillies sent me a note that their site was updated, but he was only sending these intermittently, and has been badmouthing me not posting updates he didn’t send.

When I got the unwanted email that included his absurd request, I felt I had to respond, but this was not connected to the previous hosting situation.

Before this I would have kept posting the announcements, but Phillies, despite his protestations on Facebook, had not sent me an update since May 2020. If he had I would have posted them, but now I’m done with them altogether.

Update 01/19/2021: Corrected that it is the announcements which will no longer be hosted at eFanzines, because the hosting of copies of the zines had already ended some time ago for another reason.

52 thoughts on “eFanzines Drops N3F Zines After Group’s President Seeks to Promote It on Parler and Gab

  1. This is truly off-the-wall. An analogous move back in the 50s or 60s would have been to associate the N3F with the KKK or the John Birch Society. Back then, we probably had the occasional Bircher or Klansman in fandom, but no one tried to get the N3F or any other part of fandom to attend Bircher or Klan meetings–which is what moving fannish forums to Gab or Parler amounts to.

  2. Not in the least surprised that Phillies thinks people seriously not wanting to be associated with Parler’s promotion of violent insurrection is “political name-calling.”

  3. I could perhaps mention in related “Science Fiction fans who are coincidentally also right wing nuts” news, the cracker of a Militia manifesto from author LtCol Kratman currently published on the Baen Book’s private web forum “Baen’s Bar“… Highlights of which include him saying that his Militia should “recruit working class blacks, Hispanics, and Asians”, because “they can engage in violence at need”.

    I’ve screen shotted the post on my twitter account, should anyone feel disinclined to create an account on their forum to read it.

    https://twitter.com/jayblanc/status/1348664180610637824

  4. I have not examined this particular conflict in detail, but I feel sympathetic to Phillies. Science fiction has often explored the consequences of bad politics, and its narratives can be a place to examine ideas apart from real life group identities, build empathy for others, and change hearts and minds. I see a lot of value to both the genre and society in keeping as many fans as possible engaged in science fiction, but a fan organization can’t unify dissenting people if contacting a group is interpreted as an endorsement of that group. (I may be severely underestimating the toxicity of Parler. I know little about it.)

  5. With many people leaving Twitter, Facebook and YouTube due to their increasingly heavy-handed editorial policies (not only on topics related to the US Election), it seems to me eminently reasonable that the N3F also reach out to sf fans on other platforms. It’s also a bit rich to tar everyone on Parler and Gab with the same brush, given some of the vile posts I’ve seen on Twitter (from both sides of the current divide, I should add).

    I’ve known, liked and respected Bill for many years, but I do feel that on on this occasion, he’s made the wrong decision.

  6. @Jeanne: Your suggested comparison is not in the least analogous. Attending a specifically racist gathering and setting up a stall would be to both associate with and endorse that group’s policies. George Phillies is simply asking sf fans on alternative platforms to make other sf fans aware of the N3F and its work within the genre.

  7. You know, I was delighted to find that the N3F still existed in 2021 since my primary exposure to them is in 1966, where they seem to be an important force in fandom.

    To find out that they’re now Nazi Puppies is…disappointing.

  8. I merely note which people who think it is ok to canvas on racist platforms like GAB, so I can make sure that I will never, ever have any contact with them at a convention and will protest if they are ever put in any position of authority.

    Nazi Fans, F-ck off.

  9. Recruitment is one thing, but walking into the Bürgerbräu Keller and asking if anyone is interested in science fiction is a bit much.
    Even if they are (there was even one guy there who had a possible career in it according to one well-known author), you still don’t want them around.

    I think someone missed the part where everyone explained that encouraging diversity does not extend to those who advocate against inclusion, or, you know, advocates for killing everyone not like them. Broad brushstrokes apply here, yes they do, because the request made was one as well.

    Do we all need to stick a “Nazis Not Welcome Here” badge on our websites? Used to be that was a given.

  10. That completely misses the point, namely both those places are also full of people who are primarily SF fans who could be lured into joining us.

    There are probably science fiction fans on 8chan and Daily Stormer too but as a member of N3F I wouldn’t want the organization to encourage members to spread the word on those places. The same principle applies here.

    Parler was kicked off numerous services because it did nothing to stop its site from being home to numerous racists, white nationalists and people threating violence and plotting insurrection against the United States. Why would N3F even want new members from that cesspool?

  11. Jeanne: ” Back then, we probably had the occasional Bircher or Klansman in fandom”

    I did a quick search and found at least one published SF author who was a Bircher, some dude named “Robert Heinlein”.

  12. To find out that they’re now Nazi Puppies is…disappointing.

    I’m a N3F member who gets their fanzines in email and reads them sometimes.

    I would not describe the organization as Nazi Puppies or anything similar based on its publications. They’re typical enthusiastic, clubby SF fandom fare.

    Phillies makes a lot of calls for members to spread the word about the N3F to get new people to join. The inclusion of Parler and Gab among the sites for spreading the word is offensive, but I haven’t seen any reason to believe the N3F shares politics with the far-right who frequent those social media sites.

  13. @Jake: “I did a quick search and found at least one published SF author who was a Bircher, some dude named “Robert Heinlein”.”

    Heinlein’s actual stated political views from the fifties and sixties are bad enough without adding false information about him. Neither Heinlein was a member.

  14. A great deal of planning for the riots occurred on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter as well. Should Burns drop those who use those platforms?

    @Jake. Heer does not say that Heinlein was a member of the John Birch society.

    The passage that Heer quotes says only that if forced, RAH would prefer JBS to the Communist Party, a choice which is not at all surprising. Heer also omits the preceding sentence (after castigating Patterson for failing to include context) — “I think Bob Welch’s [founder of JBS] methods are puerile and I do not find it worthwhile to support him.”

    Patterson’s bio says that RAH subscribed to the Birch magazine for approximately a year, but dropped it after finding it and Welch not to their liking, and that RAH supported the anti-communist message of the JBS. Bob Welch enrolled RAH and Ginny as members, which they hadn’t asked for, so they asked to be removed from JBS lists.

  15. bill:

    While Twitter has its share of problematic users, there is a large difference with that site and social media dedicated to hosting rightwing extremists. I have personally gotten more than 100 accounts banned from Twitter for racism and calls to violence. GAB sets an honour in not deleting this kind of content.

    If you are happy with recruiting fans from social media dedicated to racism and white supremacists, just say so.

  16. Burns’ threat is, let us say, empty, in that the N3F stopped sending him announcements a long time ago. The last notice I can find in my sent-mail is in late 2019. Copies of all extant N3F zines — when you have been a club for 80 years, things get lost — are on our web site N3F.org.

    Those announcements we sent to him seemed to be ineffective, in that our static display on his pages at efanzines.com/NFFF/ never seemed to change as a result. Burns continues to this day to list only four of our nine zines, with a listing of single issues that simply stops in 2018. As a result, I have had emails from people saying we stopped publishing everything, now years ago, because they saw it on Burns web site. No, we still publish.

    In 2018 I did as a courtesy send Burns a list of our current zines, their Editors (and one Editrix), and the URLs, so he could update the listing with a single static entry, but that correction was also ineffective. That list (links omitted) was
    The National Fantasy Fan – George Phillies
    Tightbeam -Jon Swartz and George Phillies
    Origin – John Thiel
    Ionisphere – John Thiel
    Films Fantastic – Eric Jamborsky
    N’APA – Jefferson Swycaffer
    Mangaverse – Jessi Silver
    Eldritch Science – George Phillies

    His list of our zines is still wrong.

    There was a period in which, for whatever reason, some of our zines were being stored on Burns’ web site but not ours, with our site linking to his for the issues. Burns somewhat suggested that we should use our own site. This was a major project, but I think there are no remaining links on our web site to his web site. I may have missed one.

    When I took over emailing our N3F zines, there was a distribution list. Burns was on it. I assumed that he wanted our zines, so I sent them. He finally explained politely that he did not need them, because his site does not work that way, so I removed him from the email list. Alas, as we changed Treasurers there was an electronic hiccup someplace, so we accidentally inflicted on him an email he didn’t want. We have hundreds of members; I missed that he had reappeared. For that error I am happy to apologize.

    Finally, there has been an outcome for Hugo nominations for best fanzine, a choice of other people, but I will deal with that separately.

  17. I’m happy with recruiting SF fans without assuming that someone must be a Nazi because of a social media site they may read.
    Guilt by association didn’t work very well in the Red Scare of the 1950s, and there’s no reason to think it would work well now.

  18. Parler I think is more a victim of its own incompetence. It was pitching to disenchanted Republicans but got swamped by porn and nazis because of weak moderation (and also it had bad privacy controls) and rules it didn’t enforce.

    Gab on the other hand, is actively an extremist cess-pool. For context, Gab is the social-media site that Vox Day quit from because he was constantly being trolled by obnoxious nazis — which should give a sense of just how bad it is.

  19. Sorry, but there are some people you shouldn’t asociate with. If you have no problems with people who want to murder others, I have a problem with that.

    @George Phillies: Have you asked the other editors on your list if they are okay to be promoted on Gab and Parler?
    Or is it okay to track them trough the mud without asking first?

    Sorry but for me their is little reason to find out if a person just marches with those guys, because he believes in them, or ist just willfully blind to recruid for other reasons.
    You work with monsters.

  20. bill:

    If you are member of a site dedicated to racism, it is as much “guilt by association” to mention that as it is guilt by association to mention that someone being a member of Daily Stormer is happy among nazis.

    GAB is as much a site dedicated to racism as Daily Stormer is a site dedicated to nazism. Whatever you’d like to pretend.

  21. @Hampus Eckerman
    I’ve never looked at Gab; I wouldn’t know what is on it.
    I have seen a few Parler posts which were conservative or were from conservatives but there was nothing Nazi or white supremacist about them.
    I have no reason to think that they are ideological equivalents, even though they seem to be lumped together in this thread.

  22. bill:

    I haven’t looked at Parler at all, didn’t know of it a few weeks ago, that is why I have only mentioned GAB. And GAB is absolutely a site dedicated to racists (and a smattering of edge-lords).

  23. Some facts to go with George Phillies’ statements above:
    It wasn’t for “whatever reason” that N3F fanzines were on my site. In 2009, Heath Row, then President of the N3F asked if I would host “The National Fantasy Fan”, which I agreed to. Over the next nine years N3F published other titles one by one, and I kept adding them to the N3F page.
    Then in May 2018, Bob Jennings complained that I hadn’t posted a recent issue of Tightbeam, and I told him that I was currently hosting four titles with another one announced, and suggested that after nine years N3F should start updating its own website and stop treating me as its webmaster.
    After Bob made some erroneous statements about eFanzines, I copied George Phillies and John Thiel on my response to him, and it was agreed that Phillies would start updating the N3F publications section, and I would send notices whenever he let me know an update had been posted.
    I stopped updating the NFFF page at eFanzines after this discussion and removed the link on my front page; here’s the archived NFFF page, which shows the four issues I was hosting for N3F at that time, with a datestamp of 17 July 2018: https://efanzines.com/NFFF/
    Obviously, I did not continue to update this archive page after Phillies made the agreement as above, but kept it on site so that links to it from the N3F site would not be broken. If he continued linking to it after he knew I would no longer be updating it, that’s his problem, but if it’s causing any confusion I will happily remove it on request.
    As I posted to the Society for the Perpetuation of Fannish Fandom group on Facebook, and as can be verified on the eFanzines front page, Phillies sent me N3F site update notices on 25 March 2019, 23 October 2019, and most recently 9 May 2020, and these were all added to the eFanzines front page and notified to my lists, as we had agreed. Here’s the text of the May 2020 entry on the front page, for example: “The latest issues of the NFFF’s many fanzines are now available at the organization’s website http://n3f.org/zines/. Check links to individual titles at that page to see new issues.”
    After May 2020 Phillies did not send any further updates, and I assumed he no longer needed or wanted my services.
    I thought nothing further of this, but on Monday I received an email from Phillies with the request for recipients to promote the N3F among communities such as Parler (“Donald Trump supporters, conservatives, conspiracy theorists, and right-wing extremists”) as well as Gab (“extremists including neo-Nazis, white supremacists, white nationalists, and the alt-right”). This convinced me that I wanted nothing more to do with N3F. I also felt that the wider fan community should know what direction the N3F was heading in, hence my original post in the Society for the Perpetuation of Fannish Fandom group on Facebook, and Mike’s reporting of it here.
    Incidentally, I have all the emails from 2009 to date on this subject, which confirm the statements I have made, but I will not publish them without permission from all involved.

  24. bill on January 20, 2021 at 1:07 pm said:

    @Hampus Eckerman
    I’ve never looked at Gab; I wouldn’t know what is on it.
    I have seen a few Parler posts which were conservative or were from conservatives but there was nothing Nazi or white supremacist about them.
    I have no reason to think that they are ideological equivalents, even though they seem to be lumped together in this thread.

    Here is the thing with lumping: who does the lumping?

    In the case of Parler, the site had policies against promoting violence and illegal acts. That’s a good thing. They didn’t enforce them very well and that’s a bad thing. It is this latter point that resulted in them being dropped from the Apple App Store, Google Play Store and eventually from Amazon Web Services.

    The action by all three was overtly and explicitly a move against extremists promoting violence because Parler was not enforcing ITS OWN POLICIES, policies that members had signed up for.

    So conservatives on Parler, (or just anybody who was unhappy with people demanding that the Republican, Christian, conservative Vice President Mike Pence be hanged for following the constitution of the USA) should have been understanding of that move. I mean, literal death threats against the second most senior GOP elected official should be seen as a BAD thing by conservatives.

    But note what ‘moderate’ conservatives said: the line was the move against Parler was a move to silence conservatives. So who was lumping whom with whomever?

    This is a repeated and well-worn pattern. Moves by centrist, mainstream, capitalist organisations against the violent wings of the far-right are not welcomed by conservatives (even though it is conservative institutions and movements that get hijacked by the far-right) but instead, conservatives repeatedly claim that any move against Nazis are moves against conservatives and then spiral into logic-chopping exercises into why Nazis aren’t real or the left are the real Nazis etc etc etc etc while letting the extremists play them for fools.

  25. The notion that I am trying to turn the N3F into a right or left wing political object, as opposed to being the Federation of stfnal fans of all interests and political inclinations, is unusually wrong even for the internet.

    With respect to politics and science fiction, my editorial position in Tightbeam and The N3F Review of Books has been that reviewers should review the work, not what they think of the author’s politics, but that we are open to reviews of books from authors and reviewers of a full range of political inclinations.

    Readers should note that in my list of examples of twitterlike sites I also included Twitter, which posts statements
    https://twitter.com/ChineseEmbinUS
    from the embassy of the Xi Jinping genocide regime, though twitter did delete some of the posts denying the genocide of the Uighurs. It would undoubtedly not occur to twitter users that this user makes them all genocide advocate.

    Yes, there are undoubtedly bad people on more or less every social media site, but there are also good people who are science fiction fans, fen who would be happy to join the N3F if they knew about it. I prefer to look for good people and the good in mankind, not cower away from people who are wrong.

    I have for many years supported the ACLU, and am convinced that the correct answer to speech you disagree with is speech you agree with, not isolating yourself from the people you dislike, as Burns advocates. That is particularly true when the people in question (“Trump supporters, conservatives”) are close to half the population of the United States. Lincoln proposed that a country divided will not stand, but Burns advocates so to speak using a chain saw to speed the division. Burns’ advice here is wrong and dangerous, but I am happy to defend his right to say it.

    Shutting people into media bubbles is an experiment our country has tried before, namely the southern postmasters who censored the mails of northern political issues they disliked. Suotherners then were misled as to how northerners thought. That experiment ended poorly for the people who erected the bubble, the way Burns would have us erect a bubble here.

  26. @C Barrett:

    You haven’t examined this conflict at all, if you think Parler is/would have been a reasonable, harmless place to look for potential science fiction fans. If you go into a gang clubhouse and say “hey, anyone here like science fiction and want to hang out?” the answers you’ll get are from gangsters.

    I understand the temptation, the last while, not to read the news–but the ignorance of “I can’t bear to look” isn’t a basis for telling people who have been looking that they’re wrong. Take a look at something like CNN, or google (or bing or DuckDuckGo) for information about the recent right-wing attempt to overturn the election.

    Parler got kicked off Amazon Web Services for violating the part of the terms of service that says you can’t use the site to organize criminal activity.

    The people who tried to overthrow the US government two weeks ago, and threatened to lynch the vice president because he insisted on following the law instead of helping them, were gleefully using Parler. We know this, in part because their posts were screenshotted, and in part because Parler’s infosec was laughably bad.

  27. Gab and Parler are anti-social networks. The idea of reaching out to their users is nuts. “Of course, you hate anyone not like you and have expressed your desire to violently overthrow the government and oppress us. But let’s talk about hobbies! We are into fanzines and science fiction. You might like it.” No. Don’t legitimize extremists.

  28. Regardless of various positions on free speech and the characterization of various social networks, the timing was terrible.
    Two weeks after an insurrection, a COUP attempt against the US Government, one which all of the social networks mentioned in the N3F outreach are associated in one fashion or another as hosting individuals and groups who planned, aided and abetted the coup…is either just bad timing or an attempt to capitalize on their current national notoriety.
    That’s ambulance chasing at best.
    We’ve spent a lot of time over the years in fandom maintaining a distance from adjacent conspiracy theory fans – UFOs are Real, Scientology, The Moonies, Degler early on…we do not need to add QAnon followers, let alone Nazis and White Supremacists with an interest in SF/F/H. Next thing you know there’ll be an online movement to get The Turner Diaries nominated for a Hugo despite its ineligibility.
    Fandom never used to “recruit” except on a one-on-one basis. And, I’d venture to guess, not until after the potential recruit had evidenced some interest and at least quasi fanishness. We’re not supposed to be about “numbers” – size doesn’t matter – we do our thing, lay it all out there for anyone who wishes to partake and hope that some will stick around, because they want to. Degler and a handful of fuggheads over the years aside, you get longer lasting and more dedicated fans out of those who have taken their own odyssey to the Enchanted Duplicator than you do from those temporarily fascinated by a carnival barker. The former have found their “home” and “their people”. The latter are just spectators.

  29. @bill

    You seem to know a lot about what’s going on on Facebook and Twitter, yet confess ignorance at what goes on on Parler.

    Maybe you should do your homework first before sounding off?

  30. That is particularly true when the people in question (“Trump supporters, conservatives”) are close to half the population of the United States.

    People don’t object to Parler and Gab because some users there are Trump supporters. They object because the sites have become such a breeding ground for white nationalists, anti-Semites, racists and people who make threats of violence against political figures and the government that Internet hosting providers want nothing to do with them.

    It’s a bad look for the N3F to be seeking new members from those sites, particularly at this time. Part of being open minded is to open your eyes. You haven’t done that in regard to what Parler and Gab are today. They’re not like Twitter or Facebook, which is how you’re treating them.

    Read the Parler posts Amazon cited in its refusal to continue providing Amazon Web Services to the site. Why would the N3F even want members who are comfortable using a social media site that leaves posts like those online?

  31. I had a Gab account for a while. Heavy emphasis on “had”. Bathing that frequently causes dry skin.

    I have a Parler account…or at least I presume it still exists somewhere when they get back online. I didn’t use it much. Most of what I saw was overblown rhetoric that is common from folks that are on the fringe or fringe-adjacent in any direction. I see equally vitriolic stuff on Twitter all the time via Antifa accounts (among others).

    Which kind of brings up the real problem. No one is willing to enforce a single standard of acceptable behavior.

    Twitter and FB went overboard in categorizing right-leaning speech as abusive while simultaneously soft-peddling (or worse ignoring) left-leaning speech that is equally abusive. Any time moderators of a publicly offered forum respond to abusive conduct in a disparate manner based on personal political preferences, it only serves to segregate people in a way that reinforces and excuses the worst behavior.

    When users stop seeing “those people” being corrected for abusive behavior, there is a perception of license to engage in similar behavior. Conversely, when “those people” get hammered for crossing the line, other users will see the advantage of policing their own behavior.

    But it has to be evenhanded or it just doesn’t work.

    Conflating unacceptable behavior by a smaller group of radicals with representing the desires and thinking of a larger group of non-radicals also isn’t helpful.

    Regards,
    Dann
    “It used to be said that it is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness. Today, we admire those who curse the candle—because it is not perfect, not free, not whatever the complainers want it to be.”–Thomas Sowell

  32. Philles is politically naive.That is obvious because he simply did not appreciate the political orientation of the forums he wanted to tout N3F on. His enthusiasm for his organization had clouded his ability to see the consequences of his actions.

  33. @Dann665: Your are if I remember correctly right-leaning.
    I found it interesting that neither Gab nor Parler did really get you. And I noted, that you found Gab far worse than Parler.
    May I ask why you did create this accounts? What did you exspect to find on those platforms? And for Parler don’t the security isue bother you? (I have to confes that is curiosity)

    About your points: Yes, we need standards. 2 Problems:
    1. You said Twitter is very genorous towards the left, I have seen enough people say the exact opposite.
    2. The Problem is the same standards: While in some cases that is equal. For example the call to kill someone would be somethink that would be universally bad, the topics of hatespeech are not the same, so it is imposible to not have at last some rules that will only apply to one site.

    And if you see hatespeech on Twitter from the left, you can like report them. Even if I am more afraid of the far right than the far left (sorry German), Hatespeech is never okay.

  34. “namecalling contests”?

    wow, what a long, complicated thread

    but… “namecalling contests”? That makes the whole thing sound like some kids passing around a frisbie, not a deadly-dangerous on-going national emergency created right out in the open (because most people don’t seem to know, or care, what Facism even is) over a long period of time by… actual Fascists.

    Thanks, Bill!

  35. @Dann

    You know, I hear the exact same complaints on the left, only reversed: That they think moderation against the right is soft-peddled, and moderation against the left is overly harsh.

    I’ve concluded that moderation is highly erratic and inconsistent across the political board.

  36. I’ve concluded that moderation is highly erratic and inconsistent across the political board.

    As someone who has moderated sites with over a quarter-million comments the last 20 years, I have never found anyone subjected to moderation who thought moderation was even-handed or the moderation policy was fairly enforced. Everyone bitches. Nobody thinks it is fair to their side.

    There’s no single standard of acceptable behavior that could be enforced across social media. That’s like expecting every bar to have the same rules of behavior.

    Even a site that has a moderation policy drafted with constitutional precision is still going to end up making edge-case judgment calls all day long and hearing complaints. Ultimately sites should worry less about selling the virtues of their moderation and more about whether their community is healthy or toxic. If you pay for the servers you get to decide what goes on them. If users don’t like that, there are a million other places to bloviate.

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  38. @StefanB

    My perspective is hard to pin down. Sometimes it is libertarian with a conservative streak and other times it seems more conservative with a strong libertarian streak. Sometimes a bluish-green and sometimes a yellowish-green, but better dead than red. (That’s a joke….mostly.)

    I created Gab, Parler, and MeWe accounts partially out of curiosity, partially to support competitors to the Silicon Valley giants, and partially out of frustration with the heavy left-wing bias apparent in those giants. The things that can get an account suspended for a right-leaning person have no consequences for a left-leaning person. Things that will get an account nuked for a right-leaning person will cause an account to be suspended for a left-leaning person. (I agree that the Parler security issue is a problem. It wasn’t apparent when I opened the account.)

    However, I do see some encouraging signs recently. I read an NYPost story about a dozen Antifa accounts getting nuked. (That’s a nice start.) Iran’s leading Ayatollah had one account nuked (he has others). They have suspended an official PRC account for lauding the genocide against the Uyghurs. And our own Justin got suspended for something recently. (no idea what it was and it might well have been an automated suspension in response to trolls) At the least, maybe Twitter has discovered the brand value in being even-handed in their moderation efforts. One can always hope.

    I’m also tired of the twisted attempts at moderation as well. Most recently, I found a meme that was “fact-checked” in a way that would have made Obi-wan Kenobi proud. I call it the “Democrat politician discount”.

    Regards,
    Dann
    Tronatology 101 – Never let the smoke out.

  39. @Colin H

    I might be mistaken, but I thought @PrinceJvstin was the Twitter-nick for someone that comments here from time to time.

    (repeating the above so no one has to go looking – I don’t know that they did anything wrong and they may just be on the wrong end of a troll attack.)

    Regards,
    Dann
    A poisonous snake is not dangerous, nor more than a loaded gun is dangerous – in each case, you must handle it properly. – Jubal Harshaw – Stranger in a Strange Land

  40. Dann665:

    You mean Paul Weimer.

    Also, right now there is an ongoing purge of leftist accounts on both Twitter and Facebook, leftists getting banned for things that rightwingers can say without any repercussions.

    You might want to take that into account.

  41. Seems at best weird to group Paul’s suspension with an official PRC account suspended for lauding genocide as an ‘encouraging sign.’

    Individual posters on Twitter have always been vulnerable to having their accounts suspended by groups reporting infractions en masse (often with little bearing on what the supposed infraction was). IMO, I don’t think left wing individual posters had any special immunity to it.

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