97 votes

Tildes is pushing out the minority voice

Last week I woke up to yet another PM from someone I've come to admire from afar on tildes. This was a user I'd seen many times on Tildes, bringing with them a unique and powerful voice. This person was a minority. They brought a voice to the table that was like a breath of fresh air - I'd frequently see them enter threads dominated by a single opinion and make everyone challenge their assumptions. They would enter and offer their shoes to anyone who'd like to try them on and get a glimpse into how the world might work for them, should they be brave enough to walk a mile or two.

This is not the first PM I've received from someone who decided this website had become too troublesome to continue participating and it's likely not the last I will see. While it is heartbreaking to see them go, it is equally heartbreaking to me that the reason they are going is often not because people are trying to push them away. By far and large, I see a majority of tildes users actively participating in discussions with good faith. By the results of the last census, increasing diversity was of importance to the majority of users and I do not think they were free-text typing that in without good cause.

This post is one that I've been contemplating in the back of my mind for a very long time now. It first really occurred to me nearly a year ago when a fairly well known person of minority status got banned for being too confrontational and aggressive to the kind of voice they didn't want to see on Tildes. I wasn't sure how to address it at the time, and I wasn't entirely certain it would be a problem, but the year since this post I've become hyper aware to its existence in a way I wasn't previously. In fact, I've had a bit of this conversation on more than one outlet on the internet already, because my recognition of this behavior has had me upset many times since. To this extent, I thank that user, because it truly did open my eyes to a behavior which I believe is self-sabotaging, but often genuine in nature.

I believe the simplest way to explain what is happening is through the law of large numbers. While not everyone responded to the 2020 Tildes Census (in fact I would imagine maybe 10% of us did), I'm going to use it as a model to touch on these issues. There were a total of 350 responses to the survey. Of this 86% were male, 67% were heterosexual, 75% were atheist or agnostic (50, 25 respectively), 52% were from the US, and 47% identified as white or Caucasian. I point all of this out to say that as a population we tend to trend towards a particular kind of individual. To be clear, this isn't necessarily bad - we are still quite a small website and we need to start somewhere with a base we know how to pull from.

But this does present a unique problem when it comes to interaction. Let's imagine for a second that 1 in 100 individuals has some sort of problematic behavior on Tildes that manages to find its way into discussion. This behavior might be that they have a strong intolerant opinion on a specific subject but manage to obscure it enough to get past the intolerance detecting capabilities of others. Or perhaps their views are not intolerant, but they simply possess a strong opinion on how something should be worded or an aversion to a particular kind of venting. Because I don't want to throw anyone under the bus I'm going to pull from an upsetting behavior I used to have in my childhood - I couldn't shut my mouth when people would bring up that women make '70 cents on the dollar'.

It's very hard for me to look back and definitively say it was one shaping experience that led me to behave like that. If I had to attribute this shameful behavior, I think there's a few major players. First off, I grew up in an upper middle class family who happened to be located in an area that was very homogeneous. I went to school with the children of tech millionaires, many of whom were white and quite privileged. I think there were a grand total of 4 people of color in my middle school. Things got a lot better once I had made it to high school (by numbers, whites were in the minority), but there's a subtle cultural indoctrination that happens through absorbing what you hear from parents and teachers at a young age. As a young child, I also latched on to early internet behavior. People who were pedantic about grammar, who could use logic effectively, and otherwise followed the rules that rich white people before them set up as the 'correct' way to do discuss were revered on the internet. I remember when being the grammar police was behavior that was actually celebrated. This kind of mindset lead me to read into the research on the matter (also primarily conducted by rich white folks, another bias I'm trying to undo in my life) and the modern research suggested that this figure was outdated and poorly controlled.

I was the 1 in 100 users with the problematic behavior. It took me awhile to learn that I wasn't helping anyone out by offering this information up (turns out there were a lot of people already doing the same work I was and people are smarter than I gave them credit for), but that only scratches at the surface of the real problem. The real problem is that I didn't have the lived experience of a woman entering spaces where this discussion was happening. I wasn't the woman who received less pay than their colleagues, who put in more hours, who spoke up but was talked over, whose ideas were restated by their male peers, or who clicked on an article link talking about pay inequality or women's rights and how far we still have to go and was met with hostile comments. I didn't know how soul-crushing it could be to be met with nearly the same resistance in every public sphere where this was being discussed. I didn't know how tiring it was to have to justify my existence and to explain my struggles to those who hadn't lived the same life as me. I didn't know how heart wrenching it would feel for someone I valued, trusted, and loved to express opinions like these years after I had built up a strong bond with them and for them to be entirely unaware of the damage they were causing.

To be clear, when I say understand I mean to have either experienced it directly enough to begin to actually place myself in the shoes of others or heard about it enough for their experience to truly sink in. It's one thing to acknowledge and know that this behavior exists, it's another to live it and see it first hand on a day where you're hanging on by a thread. To truly understand how mentally exhausting it can be to treated this way was something that escaped my comprehension because I could only live this experience through the words of others. I didn't really start to appreciate this until I got older, because I started recognizing how universal this experience truly was. I don't think I know a single female who doesn't have a story of sexual assault - the rate at which they respond with something in their lives is a stark reminder of how far we still have to come.

What I knew, but didn't truly understand is that if 1 in 100 users have problematic behavior and 1 in 100 users are transgender, we have an equal number of transgender individuals as we do users with problematic behavior. I want you to stop here and reread the last sentence and really absorb it before moving on. Ask yourself what problems might arise by these inequality existing.

In this hypothetical we have an even number of individuals who are going to participate in a thread about a transgender issue as we have transgender individuals. If even 1 of these transgender individuals decides they do not want to engage with this behavior, we're on a downwards slope to eventually having nearly no transgender representation as now they are outnumbered and their voice is more likely to be drowned out by the problematic individuals. As less and less people of the minority engage, because they are discouraged by the expressions of the problematic individuals, less people will wish to engage as the threads become increasingly more hostile.

The problem we have on tildes is that the only way I see for us to become more diverse is to ask for more from those who have, to protect those who do not. I'm calling on everyone to pay closer attention to the intended audience of a thread. We need to look at how discussions are happening throughout the entirety of a thread and do a better job being welcoming of the minority opinion. We need to elevate and celebrate the voices of the minorities in these threads so that they are equal in paradigm to the voices which counter theirs. If a thread's topic is about a minority class such as gays we need to ensure that gays get an equal voice - if one person is dominating replies to gays in the comments, we need to be good allies and help balance the scales.

We also need to stop and think about how these discussions usually play out on the rest of the internet. Do you ever see something like this on twitter and go "definitely not checking the comments"? We need to pay attention to this, and strive to ensure the same doesn't eventually apply to Tildes.

A common example of this that I've seen is present in threads directed at specific minorities. The early discussion in a fantastic thread titled What's hard about being a woman? exemplifies this issue - because there aren't enough women on Tildes, the thread was dominated by male voices. Only one of these individuals were particularly problematic, but there was a hesitation from women I knew to enter this thread because an environment dominated by the male voice is not welcoming. Some of the women who entered this thread were met with replies challenging some of what they said, rather than elevating their voices and celebrating their participation. A small minority of men were in this thread to learn, but weren't aware of how the way they engage with other men on the internet was not appropriate for this venue. They didn't stop to consider that a thread dominated by male voices was neither welcoming nor a good start. If they had merely waited for women to start populating the thread, and replied to them, or opened soft with commentary on what they had seen in women without providing too much analysis they may have made the thread more welcoming.

Another common example of this that I see happened in a thread I posted titled Stop telling women they have imposter syndrome. I actually had to stop myself from posting in this thread because I had an inkling that it was going to exemplify the behavior I wanted to address in a thread like this and I didn't want to disrupt what would naturally happen on Tildes absent my intervention. Nearly every reply in that thread criticizes the author for not mentioning that men can have impostor syndrome too. Imagine entering this thread as a woman - even if you emotionally connected with the author on some level, would you bother engaging when highly regarded comments focus on nitpicking the author for not being 'inclusive' enough? As far as I could tell, even the title doesn't call upon the reader to critically examine what imposter syndrome is and who is eligible to suffer from it. It's calling upon the reader to stop telling women that they have imposter syndrome (or to stop others when they make this statement), when the problem is a sexist environment. I've even received recognition from women on Tildes outside of this thread (through DMs and discussions on different platforms) who thank me for posting these threads, but their voice is often conspicuously absent from the thread itself. I do not want to speak on their behalf, but I can guess that a major reason for that is the environment we are creating here on Tildes is not welcoming enough for them to feel it is worth commenting.

The insidious part of this problem is that very often the people creating a hostile environment do not intend to do so. They truly wish to be inclusive. Or they see behavior like this and they don't understand why it's problematic - it doesn't cause a flag to go off in their brain which tells them that they should jump in and fight on behalf of the people they want to protect. But this behavior is slowly causing minority individuals to flee this website. I don't know and cannot know them all, but waking up to PMs about someone else leaving makes my heart sink. Entering threads about the intersectional minorities that I find myself and my loved ones a part of often makes me feel similarly upset, downtrodden, and makes me feel like I want to engage less and less with this platform.

I wish I had an answer. I wish I could wave a magic wand and make everything better. To give everyone omniscience, or at least a day's firsthand experience of someone radically different than them. Unfortunately, I do not. I think the best I can offer at this time is this post - a call on all of us to do better; a start of an ongoing discussion on how we can protect the minorities among us so that we can be bettered by their presence.

129 comments

  1. [17]
    Deimos
    Link
    Thanks for posting this. I know it's a subject you've thought about for a long time, and that we've even talked about occasionally. There's a lot that I could say, but I'll try to be brief (and...
    • Exemplary

    Thanks for posting this. I know it's a subject you've thought about for a long time, and that we've even talked about occasionally. There's a lot that I could say, but I'll try to be brief (and probably a little more candid than usual):

    Some of the main causes of this are due to Tildes's structure, which is my fault. The site's current structure does not make it possible for any kind of sub-communities to form or exist on any level of separation from "all Tildes users". All topics are basically placed in front of all users, which means there's no practical ability to have any space or discussions that won't end up dominated by "the general population". This has let us build "a Tildes community", but it can't really support anything more specific than that.

    I have various ideas for how to improve this, but I haven't been actually implementing them. Part of this is complacency, part of it is a general feeling of exhaustion lately towards the prevalent cynicism and antagonism of the internet that's been reducing my level of engagement here and elsewhere—Tildes is better than most sites, but still not great overall—and part of it is honestly from a level of fear. I'm afraid that making major changes to the site's structure or mechanics (especially ones that are intended to fragment the community) will end up killing the already-low level of activity here or driving away people who feel that it's "not what I thought Tildes was".

    But I need to get past that, because it's not going to improve on its own. @kfwyre made an excellent comment the other day that I've been thinking about a lot, because I really like the idea of looking at your impact as a vector. If we truly want Tildes to be able to be a better online community, then we—and specifically I—need to be willing to push the direction of that vector more boldly. So far it's not tilted much away from how other sites work, so naturally we're running into many of the same issues.

    So I think we need to make some of those larger changes, even if it ends up hurting the site in the short term. I don't have any specific changes I want to mention right now (and this isn't really the place for it anyway), but we should talk more about it very soon.

    69 votes
    1. lonjil
      Link Parent
      This is one thing where I really still prefer Reddit, despite its flaws. When I don't have the stamina to argue, or even read other's arguments, about say trans rights, for the millionth time,...

      This is one thing where I really still prefer Reddit, despite its flaws. When I don't have the stamina to argue, or even read other's arguments, about say trans rights, for the millionth time, there are subreddits where I know I can participate in reasonable discussions without being subjected to inane arguments over and over. Those places still have the problems Reddit tends to have, but at least almost everyone there already knows all about all the issues, they understand the topic and have a positive interest. People who have already been thru all the arguments, rather than people who when faced with the topic decide to quickly google some stuff to immediately argue vehemently.

      32 votes
    2. Gaywallet
      Link Parent
      I feel that we are lucky to have someone like you running the website. Thank you for this introspection and commitment. I still feel strongly that Tildes is a wonderful place and I believe we can...

      If we truly want Tildes to be able to be a better online community, then we—and specifically I—need to be willing to push the direction of that vector more boldly.

      I feel that we are lucky to have someone like you running the website. Thank you for this introspection and commitment. I still feel strongly that Tildes is a wonderful place and I believe we can get past these growing pains. Looking forward to hearing more. 💜

      31 votes
    3. cfabbro
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      If it's any consolation, I have definitely felt that fear about rocking the boat too much as well, which is why I am grateful that @gaywallet had the courage to put into words what has also been...

      and part of it is honestly from a level of fear. I'm afraid that making major changes to the site's structure or mechanics (especially ones that are intended to fragment the community) will end up killing the already-low level of activity here or driving away people who feel that it's "not what I thought Tildes was".

      If it's any consolation, I have definitely felt that fear about rocking the boat too much as well, which is why I am grateful that @gaywallet had the courage to put into words what has also been gnawing at me for some time as well.

      But even with that in mind, I think I would ultimately rather see Tildes go out with a bang, trying something new and different that could potentially improve the situation here (and online in general, hopefully), rather than it dying a slow death as more and more people slowly leave due to feeling disenfranchised, antagonized, and exhausted by the prevailing culture of the site. So for what it's worth, I say, "Fuck it! Whatever you have in mind, go for it! I trust you more than anyone else I know when it comes to this sorta stuff. And really, what's the worst that could happen?" :P

      p.s. And if you need any help in theory-crafting ideas, you know where to find all us social media addicted, naval gazers. ;)

      23 votes
    4. [2]
      teaearlgraycold
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      My guess is that the types of discussion that we have here, on reddit, and so many other places on the internet are not going to allow for minority voices to be heard. Because there's no other...

      My guess is that the types of discussion that we have here, on reddit, and so many other places on the internet are not going to allow for minority voices to be heard. Because there's no other discussion format besides open mic town hall the odds are that the first few voices will be from the majority group. That then sets the tone for the rest of discussion. The way voting works means these comments start out with a few votes before a minority opinion even gets posted.

      The first alternative discussion format that comes to mind would be like a mini version of restricted subreddits. You start a thread with a whitelist of commenters (maybe the whitelist is dropped after 24 hours, maybe it applies only to top-level comments). This is the equivalent of a public panel discussion. There still is a microphone available for questions and comments, but 75% of the bandwidth is taken up by the panel.

      Edit:

      Since the consensus seems to be that Tildes commenters are good-faith actors, even just adding a checkbox near the comment post button that can be customized by the OP could be enough (Ex: "I certify that I am commenting as a member of the requested group" to avoid "Not a ____, but..." comments).

      16 votes
      1. Eylrid
        Link Parent
        The comment weighting/vote weighting mechanics that already exist here could be useful. Give users who are part of the relevant group for the thread more comment and voting weight.

        The comment weighting/vote weighting mechanics that already exist here could be useful. Give users who are part of the relevant group for the thread more comment and voting weight.

        5 votes
    5. [3]
      Staross
      Link Parent
      Although sub-communities would be nice, I doubt the site structure is the major issue. You have 80-90% of men from the start, there's no way things will improve just by changing the site...

      Although sub-communities would be nice, I doubt the site structure is the major issue. You have 80-90% of men from the start, there's no way things will improve just by changing the site structure. I think it requires some much more active measures, like :

      • Actively targeting women for recruitment, by e.g. targeting female dominated subs/websites, or even ads.
      • Actively blocking/reducing the recruitment of men.
      • Actively promoting content that are dominated by female demographics (e.g. knitting).

      For example one could identify good posters on r/knitting and pay them to come here make a post or two per month.

      15 votes
      1. [2]
        teaearlgraycold
        Link Parent
        It feels like the approach should be similar to someone trying to diet. You are as strict as possible with your food when you have complete control over it. Maybe for meals you cook yourself you...

        It feels like the approach should be similar to someone trying to diet. You are as strict as possible with your food when you have complete control over it. Maybe for meals you cook yourself you eat nearly 0 grams of carbs. But then life happens and you eat out on the weekend and friends invite you over for homemade pasta and you can't say no. In the end you have a pretty low carb diet.

        So maybe the best way to have a site with a balance of male and female voices is to go all in on women. Naturally men will trickle in until you've got an even demographical breakdown. This assumes online spaces naturally acquire male voices - but it's possible I just end up in male dominated spaces most of the time.

        7 votes
        1. moocow1452
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          This was literally tried with Cabracadabra in Bojack Horseman, a ride sharing service with women only drivers, and by the end of it, they suffered a bit of mission creep.

          So maybe the best way to have a site with a balance of male and female voices is to go all in on women. Naturally men will trickle in until you've got an even demographical breakdown.

          This was literally tried with Cabracadabra in Bojack Horseman, a ride sharing service with women only drivers, and by the end of it, they suffered a bit of mission creep.

          2 votes
    6. skybrian
      Link Parent
      Here's one idea of where this could go once Tildes actually has separate "places" to hang out. Suppose we had some kind of "welcoming" group where people introduce themselves, if they want? Sort...

      Here's one idea of where this could go once Tildes actually has separate "places" to hang out. Suppose we had some kind of "welcoming" group where people introduce themselves, if they want? Sort of like a host welcoming guests? And the idea is that, if you're not a newcomer or aren't there to be a gracious host to newcomers, don't hang out there?

      A minimal implementation might be to have a monthly "Introductions" topic.

      7 votes
    7. [6]
      screenbeard
      Link Parent
      Without knowing what you have planned, and with the knowledge that you've spent hours thinking about this where most of us haven't, I can't help but worry about the idea of "splitting" the...

      Without knowing what you have planned, and with the knowledge that you've spent hours thinking about this where most of us haven't, I can't help but worry about the idea of "splitting" the community. It seems like a logical next step, but how much have we learned about the harm of filter bubbles over the last 5 years? Letting people filter out some topics, and actively promoting other content gives users the illusion they're the majority opinion on the site rather than one in many in a small bubble. Honestly the Tildes community is the least toxic one I've found and think whatever you've been doing has been pretty great. Which doesn't mean I don't think there's room to improve things.

      Disclaimer: I'm a well off white man in a wealthy country, so there's a lot more toxicity I'm going to gloss over unintentionally.

      6 votes
      1. [2]
        NaraVara
        Link Parent
        It's important to note that most of the issue isn't really "toxicity" as such, or even really "microaggressions" or anything like that. It's more like a pervasive sense that people don't get it,...
        • Exemplary

        It's important to note that most of the issue isn't really "toxicity" as such, or even really "microaggressions" or anything like that.

        It's more like a pervasive sense that people don't get it, you can't relate to them, you can't have decent conversations about a whole host of topics because they're going to be inundated by long comments from people who don't know what the hell they're talking about.

        The upshot of all this isn't that people feel attacked or discriminated against. It's more that people just feel like the commentary is boring, trite, one-note. So they leave. The number of people leaving in a huff because they're offended aren't substantial. The number of people who never join because the place sucks, is uninteresting, speaks only in techbro cliches, etc. is much higher.

        34 votes
        1. screenbeard
          Link Parent
          Thank you for clarifying that.

          Thank you for clarifying that.

          3 votes
      2. [3]
        Micycle_the_Bichael
        Link Parent
        I'm confused about the filtering part of this comment. People are already able to unsubscribe from groups they aren't interested in and they wont see content from those groups, and we already...

        how much have we learned about the harm of filter bubbles over the last 5 years? Letting people filter out some topics, and actively promoting other content gives users the illusion they're the majority opinion on the site rather than one in many in a small bubble

        I'm confused about the filtering part of this comment. People are already able to unsubscribe from groups they aren't interested in and they wont see content from those groups, and we already allow for people to filter content based on the tags. Is that not the kind of filtering you're describing? Or am I misunderstanding your comment?

        7 votes
        1. [2]
          screenbeard
          Link Parent
          I don't use those features myself so if there's ways to create bubbles already then I can see why my comment is confusing. I was replying to this part of Deimos' comment And I can see he didn't...

          I don't use those features myself so if there's ways to create bubbles already then I can see why my comment is confusing.

          I was replying to this part of Deimos' comment

          The site's current structure does not make it possible for any kind of sub-communities to form or exist on any level of separation from "all Tildes users". All topics are basically placed in front of all users, which means there's no practical ability to have any space or discussions that won't end up dominated by "the general population".

          And I can see he didn't mean an algorithmic filter as such, but a way to take a discussion to another seperate space, which I'm on board with now I re-read it.

          I guess I'm just wary of a mechanism that will let people block out stuff that disagrees with their own biases. But I also acknowledge that there's very little practical difference between avoiding content because it's genuinely hurtful and avoiding it because it causes cognitive dissonance and trying to draw a distinction would be almost impossible.

          So yeah, don't listen to me.

          4 votes
          1. Micycle_the_Bichael
            Link Parent
            Sorry! Rereading my original comment I’m not a huge fan of the way I worded it. If it came off rude I’m sorry. I agree that never looking exposing to anything that doesn’t agree with your own...

            Sorry! Rereading my original comment I’m not a huge fan of the way I worded it. If it came off rude I’m sorry. I agree that never looking exposing to anything that doesn’t agree with your own biases is a bad thing. I can see why you’d be wary of a tool like that, and I agree it’s really hard to make a tool that prevents people from closing themselves off to their own biases. In my opinion, the better way to do that is to foster a community where people don’t choose to do that. I think there’s a lot of value in a tool that allows people to filter the content they see, and I don’t know that I’m convinced we shouldn’t have them because people will abuse them. I think it would be better to have the tools exist, and try to figure out why people are isolating themselves and address that.

            4 votes
    8. Amarok
      Link Parent
      Go for it. Forum evolution is a sadly ignored and critical part of getting the online community concept right. Everyone is using the same old discussion and sharing models, including the current...

      So I think we need to make some of those larger changes

      Go for it. Forum evolution is a sadly ignored and critical part of getting the online community concept right. Everyone is using the same old discussion and sharing models, including the current iteration of Tildes. If you've got ideas to pull us away from the traditional model, don't let 'fear' of changing things pissing people off hold you back. Anything different is good and it'll get better with time and more people tossing ideas into the pot. This place has collected a surprising initial user base. Many people here are here because they want to make progress on these issues (including me) and what's out there right now isn't getting us there.

      I think you'll find the folks hanging around this place are a lot more receptive to big brave changes and new ideas than any other forum. What we've always lacked is a BDFL with the chops and the conviction to get us there - everyone else is trying to make money, not progress. Real, effective solutions can only come from people like you in places like this, where money isn't the primary motivation.

      I get the apathy - the whole world is drowning in it right now. That too will pass, don't let it get the best of you. <3

      4 votes
  2. [4]
    eladnarra
    Link
    Thank you for making this post. While I've been around on Tildes for some time, I tend to disappear for periods of time, so it's harder for me to see patterns of people leaving. Plus I'm a bit of...
    • Exemplary

    Thank you for making this post. While I've been around on Tildes for some time, I tend to disappear for periods of time, so it's harder for me to see patterns of people leaving. Plus I'm a bit of a loner.

    There have been several discussions on Tildes that have made me want to pull away. One was ages ago, about abortion. It's pretty upsetting to argue for your right to bodily autonomy when people turn out to be playing devil's advocate. I have a uterus. I've already thought about these things and heard these arguments from people who sincerely believe them; I don't need to hone my arguments against a devil's advocate.

    The most recent one was the thread about ableist language. Not a lot to say about that one. I still plan to comment on Tildes with my perspective as a disabled person, but I am much less likely to post on things about ableism going forward. It's too discouraging to be stuck trying to explain it exists, and I'd rather save my energy for groups that take ableism (and ableist language) seriously and want to do something about it.

    44 votes
    1. [3]
      Gaywallet
      Link Parent
      Thank you for sharing this, I often found myself floundering in that thread, because I wanted to understand how I could do better but there was so much pushback that I also found it a bit...

      Thank you for sharing this, I often found myself floundering in that thread, because I wanted to understand how I could do better but there was so much pushback that I also found it a bit overwhelming. I'm glad others were able to fight effectively in that thread, but it really did seem like a Sisyphean effort to me and at some point I had to take a step away😔

      18 votes
      1. [2]
        wcerfgba
        Link Parent
        I want to apologise to you both and anyone else who was drained by the ableism thread, which I started. When I started the topic I didn't consider the emotional labour involved in discussing...

        I want to apologise to you both and anyone else who was drained by the ableism thread, which I started. When I started the topic I didn't consider the emotional labour involved in discussing something that is both controversial and touches so closely on the lived experiences of a minority group. To make matters worse I was a largely absentee OP and didn't defend the position I was advocating on the various subthreads, which left more labour to yourselves and others. So for all this I am truly sorry.

        It saddens me deeply to hear that minority voices are feeling pushed out or drowned out or feel they need to defend themselves. Energy should not need to be expended to feel comfortable, welcome, or accepted.

        In terms of solutions, one option might be safe spaces -- non-public fora in which group can discuss ideas and issues without risk of misinterpretation or railroading by outgroup voices. In terms of implementation that would look like private tildes/group which one would have to request to join. This creates its own problems though, particularly when many people are pseudonymous and don't necessarily know other folks outside of this platform. If such a solution were adopted it would be cool to allow safe space members to publicly publish certain topics (with consent from all participating members), or optionally mark a topic as world-readable or world-writable, so that safe space members could control how much out-group engagement could occur, and still maintain at least a one-way discourse with interested out-group individuals.

        20 votes
        1. eladnarra
          Link Parent
          Thank you, @wcerfgba - I don't blame you at all for how that thread progressed, since it's not necessarily something one can easily predict, and once it starts it's very hard to divert, but that's...

          Thank you, @wcerfgba - I don't blame you at all for how that thread progressed, since it's not necessarily something one can easily predict, and once it starts it's very hard to divert, but that's still nice to hear. :)

          I don't know how feasible that type of structure is on Tildes, but I definitely do think cultivating "cultures" within topics makes sense. I forget who pointed it out here, but commenting on a post in ~lgbt as a cishet person can have a different feel than commenting on an LGBTQ article outside it. Of course, when everything shows up on one page, you can forget to check where a particular article has been put...

          10 votes
  3. [12]
    eve
    Link
    Thank you for posting this topic. I think it's an important thing to address, since it's becoming a pattern. And thank you for pointing out the "What's Hard About Being a Woman?" thread. For...
    • Exemplary

    Thank you for posting this topic. I think it's an important thing to address, since it's becoming a pattern. And thank you for pointing out the "What's Hard About Being a Woman?" thread. For comparison, how many women posted in the "what's hard about being a man?" thread? I considered it for a moment but ultimately decided not to. I considered it a space for men, which I do not identify as this group, to vent out their frustrations and discuss the bs they have to deal with. How did the other thread go? I personally would have rather seen no replies at all, or at least have users wait until more than like 2 wimins posted, specifically BECAUSE the voices of women on tildes can get drowned out so easily. There are so. Many. Men. Here already. I'm hesitant to suggest the site to my own friends because of how it tends to be about minority voices!

    I think maybe people need to come into threads with more good faith and to make less snap judgments. Like, if you don't understand why a minority voice has the opinion they do, do your own research. Actually take to heart THEIR VOICE.

    I feel like I'm rambling but it's super duper important to hear out minority voices and see the emotion and understand the burdens we bear. Like just take one tiny step into our shoes. Or just shut up if you can't understand. I'm not trying to be mean but I'd rather people not say anything if they're just trying to be pedantic and play devils advocate. To be able to do that comes from a place of privilege.

    35 votes
    1. [11]
      AnthonyB
      Link Parent
      I hate to be the person spamming the thread with the same idea over and over again, but this seems like a good example of why it is important to have subgroups for marginalized communities like...

      For comparison, how many women posted in the "what's hard about being a man?" thread? I considered it for a moment but ultimately decided not to. I considered it a space for men, which I do not identify as this group, to vent out their frustrations and discuss the bs they have to deal with. How did the other thread go?

      I hate to be the person spamming the thread with the same idea over and over again, but this seems like a good example of why it is important to have subgroups for marginalized communities like ~women or ~poc or something similar. As a heterosexual, I enter ~lgbt threads feeling like a guest, with an intent to listen first. If there is a post in ~humanities or ~news that touches on lgbt+ issues, I feel much more inclined to share my opinion. We can make the argument that one would ideally enter any thread with the intent to listen first if they do not have first-hand experience with the subject matter, but people come here to connect and express their opinion. I like to think people will enter threads differently based on the community they are posted in. I don't think it will completely solve the issue, I have seen enough "man here" comments on r/twoxchromosomes to know that there will always be at least one dude speaking out of turn, but I think having that distinction is enough to make a positive difference and will at least point us in the right direction.

      10 votes
      1. [10]
        NaraVara
        Link Parent
        As a POC, I am pro a ~women group but anti having a ~poc group. Being a woman is a specific thing with a shared experience that isn't just about misogyny. Being a POC is simply being not White....

        As a POC, I am pro a ~women group but anti having a ~poc group. Being a woman is a specific thing with a shared experience that isn't just about misogyny. Being a POC is simply being not White. It's not a common experience of anything but racism. You would need to be more granular (e.g. ~BlackAmerican, ~Hispanic, ~Asian) for it to mean anything. But I don't think there is any interest in subdividing that way.

        18 votes
        1. [8]
          cfabbro
          Link Parent
          Being LGBT+ is basically centred around simply not being cis/straight, and yet I am still glad that ~lgbt exists as a place where those of us who identify as part of that group can congregate, and...

          Being LGBT+ is basically centred around simply not being cis/straight, and yet I am still glad that ~lgbt exists as a place where those of us who identify as part of that group can congregate, and feel safe to discuss things with each other and our allies.

          Would a ~poc group really not feel similarly comforting? (genuinely asking, since I am not a POC)

          7 votes
          1. [7]
            NaraVara
            Link Parent
            The thing is, most POCs don't necessarily like each other. The Korean store owner and his African American customer wouldn't view themselves as being on the same "team," even if they both know...

            The thing is, most POCs don't necessarily like each other. The Korean store owner and his African American customer wouldn't view themselves as being on the same "team," even if they both know they're not on the White team. You see this in most "diversity and inclusion" type functions in organizations or activist spaces. They tend to be dominated by highly educated people who mostly interact in ethnically diverse and cosmopolitan communities. They're usually not super representative of the mainstream perspectives of the communities they claim to represent.

            A good example of the gap between the "POC activist" base and the grassroots base is the whole Latinx thing. Activists and academics used it, but most actual Hispanic people tended to resent the implication that their language is inherently sexist based on the assumptions and cultural mores of a largely White academy.

            13 votes
            1. [3]
              tempestoftruth
              (edited )
              Link Parent
              I had a conversation about this in the ableist language thread, so I don't want to dredge that up, but polling suggests that over 75% of Latinxs haven't heard the term, so the claim that "most...
              • Exemplary

              A good example of the gap between the "POC activist" base and the grassroots base is the whole Latinx thing. Activists and academics used it, but most actual Hispanic people tended to resent the implication that their language is inherently sexist based on the assumptions and cultural mores of a largely White academy.

              I had a conversation about this in the ableist language thread, so I don't want to dredge that up, but polling suggests that over 75% of Latinxs haven't heard the term, so the claim that "most actual Hispanic people" resent the terminology is unsubstantiated, unless you know of a more accurate or more recent poll.

              That being said, I wholeheartedly agree with the broader point you're making that POCs aren't going to get along with all other POCs just by virtue of being POCs. I don't think that necessarily means creating ~poc is a bad idea, though (I say this as a POC). If ~poc wasn't a "default" community here on Tildes and if it was moderated according to distinct community guidelines (e.g. topics contesting racial discrimination in bad faith aren't permissible, perhaps akin to r/BlackPeopleTwitter) I could be in favor of it. Not every POC in the group would be the best of friends, but that doesn't mean it couldn't have a healthy dynamic. Good vibes in the group would be more a function of good moderation and idiosyncratic group culture, than it would be about some particular, essential, impossible-to-overcome conflict between POCs of different groups (not saying that you are essentializing, but I want to make the distinction clear). Would appreciate any other POCs on Tildes chiming in with their thoughts!

              edit: I have to add this as well, it's important for me to make space for myself and people like me in threads on Tildes, which is kind of what this whole thread is about! Using the word "actual" in "most actual Hispanic people" implicitly suggests that members of the ethnic group who use Latinx aren't "actual" members of the ethnic group, which is incorrect. There is no test of authenticity to determine who is and is not a member of the ethnic group. Also, you use the past tense when referring to the use of Latinx but the word is still in use today. I don't mean to make it at all about you personally @NaraVara but frankly and respectfully (in the interests of honesty and advancing the discussion on minority inclusion) I would want comments in a hypothetical ~poc group saying something similar to what you've said about Latinx to be removed, so that comment sections aren't full of people litigating simple things like how I or others want to be referred to.

              10 votes
              1. [2]
                NaraVara
                Link Parent
                The thing is POC spaces still exist within a broader framework that is White, Western, modernist, etc. So who in the POC space gets to speak on behalf of that perspective isn’t a neutral thing. It...

                Not every POC in the group would be the best of friends, but that doesn't mean it couldn't have a healthy dynamic.

                The thing is POC spaces still exist within a broader framework that is White, Western, modernist, etc. So who in the POC space gets to speak on behalf of that perspective isn’t a neutral thing. It often ends up being the people who are best at getting clout and those are going to be people who are most comfortable speaking the language of the existing, broader power structure.

                Voices get amplified by virtue of being able to navigate the system above as much as, if not moreso, than how well we actually represent the communities we come from. And as a result, the mainstreams opinion of us and our perspectives are filtered through this lens of people who are unrepresentative of and narrower than the range of perspectives on the ground.

                7 votes
                1. tempestoftruth
                  (edited )
                  Link Parent
                  I agree with what you've said here, so I think the disagreement lies in what you and I imagine the intended purpose of this group would be. Yes, it is correct that ~poc would not be representative...

                  I agree with what you've said here, so I think the disagreement lies in what you and I imagine the intended purpose of this group would be. Yes, it is correct that ~poc would not be representative of the broader group of POCs in real life. However, I don't think the purpose of ~poc would be to create a community that is totally representative of POCs so that the mainstream can "get the POC perspective". If anyone did try to do that, they would get the wrong idea, and that's fine, because the group wouldn't exist for that purpose. I'd ask: does the ~lgbt group exist so that cishet people can get "the queer perspective" on LGBT issues? Or does it exist so that queer people on Tildes have a space to speak with one another? The purpose of ~poc (as I imagine it to be) would be like the latter, a fun place for POCs to chat, where they don't have to explain why takes like "no real Latinxs use Latinx" make them uncomfortable and how they provide potential space for bad faith actors to spew exclusionary opinions,1 in the same way that uncomfortable comments that miss the mark on inclusion of LGBT people get deleted in ~lgbt (at least, I assume this is how it works in that community, anyone feel free to correct me if they feel that isn't the case!)

                  1 Check out threads like "Latinx is bullshit" on Reddit to find all the people using the opportunity to introduce transphobia into the discourse.

                  6 votes
            2. [3]
              lonjil
              Link Parent
              I agree with you, but I must point out that Latinx was coined in Latin America and is in active use among some LGBT communities there. Though my understanding is that "Latine" and similar is more...

              I agree with you, but I must point out that Latinx was coined in Latin America and is in active use among some LGBT communities there. Though my understanding is that "Latine" and similar is more popular for gender neutrality. Though not mainstream at all either.

              7 votes
              1. [2]
                NaraVara
                Link Parent
                I’ve read it’s used almost exclusively in the US, so much so that Latin Americans think of it as an American thing.

                I agree with you, but I must point out that Latinx was coined in Latin America and is in active use among some LGBT communities there.

                I’ve read it’s used almost exclusively in the US, so much so that Latin Americans think of it as an American thing.

                4 votes
                1. Loire
                  Link Parent
                  Similarly, the Latin Americans (largely Venezuelans) I associate with find it to be absolutely ridiculous but I, admittedly, don't run in progressive circles in real life.

                  Similarly, the Latin Americans (largely Venezuelans) I associate with find it to be absolutely ridiculous but I, admittedly, don't run in progressive circles in real life.

                  3 votes
        2. AnthonyB
          Link Parent
          That makes sense. FWIW, I was intentionally trying to be vague with my suggestion since any proposed expansion of subgroups will inevitably be met with a dozen meta threads debating groups vs tags...

          That makes sense. FWIW, I was intentionally trying to be vague with my suggestion since any proposed expansion of subgroups will inevitably be met with a dozen meta threads debating groups vs tags and other typical navel-gazing that makes tildes tildes.

          3 votes
  4. [8]
    Maddox
    Link
    It's sad that my long-term girlfriend has said, "It's not worth it," to joining in the discussion here. A black woman, in a male-dominated field, from an impoverished family, as a first-generation...
    • Exemplary

    It's sad that my long-term girlfriend has said, "It's not worth it," to joining in the discussion here.

    A black woman, in a male-dominated field, from an impoverished family, as a first-generation college graduate, basically can't read the comments without rolling her eyes.

    She'd scowl at me if she read herself described that way, because she'd never announce that "identity non-sense" and instead say it is more about individual experience.

    Unfortunately, I think a lot of people place power on these weird 'identity markers' and use them as ammo in their comments and posts, instead of their individual experience. I'll probably regret pressing 'post comment' with this one.

    29 votes
    1. [7]
      Gaywallet
      Link Parent
      I'm not sure I fully understand - is she saying that commenting on this discussion in particular is not worth it, or that discussion on Tildes is not worth it? I'm assuming the former, but I'd...

      I'm not sure I fully understand - is she saying that commenting on this discussion in particular is not worth it, or that discussion on Tildes is not worth it? I'm assuming the former, but I'd like to know before saying anything else.

      9 votes
      1. [6]
        Maddox
        Link Parent
        Her words are, "the comments come off as too pretentious or out of touch with reality." I agree with her for the most part. Tildes is great, but there are many off-putting comment chains from...

        is she saying that commenting on this discussion in particular is not worth it, or that discussion on Tildes is not worth it?

        Her words are, "the comments come off as too pretentious or out of touch with reality."

        I agree with her for the most part. Tildes is great, but there are many off-putting comment chains from people with an ax to grind, or people who fell in love with being on a debate team.

        We stick to the articles.

        20 votes
        1. [4]
          clem
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          Jumping in this comment thread out of nowhere--in my opinion, there is a fundamental problem with frowning on comments that are not lengthy and detailed. Tildes doesn't want you to comment if you...

          Jumping in this comment thread out of nowhere--in my opinion, there is a fundamental problem with frowning on comments that are not lengthy and detailed. Tildes doesn't want you to comment if you don't have time to sit down and add a thorough, detailed reply. Therefore, you don't feel like part of the community unless you have hours to devote to it.

          On Reddit, I browse a lot of different stuff. I sometimes make high-quality posts or comments on topics that I know a lot about. On other topics, I keep my mouth shut, but occasionally make "noisy" comments when I feel like it. Maybe I make a little joke or simply indicate that I agree or am part of something. I refrain from these on communities that ask me not to, like /r/Science or /r/NeutralPolitics, and on important political topics, as I feel like that kind of noise has been destructive.

          But I'm allowed to make jokes and pointless comments when appropriate, so I feel like I'm part of various Reddit communities. I'm allowed to make these comments here, but not only will it be labelled as noise or a joke, but the website doesn't want me to do this. So I don't. I'm not part of this community, and that's fine. It disappoints me, because I am eager for a Reddit replacement, but it's been clear for a long time that Tildes doesn't intend to replace Reddit, so it shouldn't matter to me.

          I guess my point is that restricting low-effort comments seems like a mistake. I am 100% behind efforts to encourage and promote high-effort, meaningful content, but discouraging the opposite means that a lot of people won't be interested in making the effort. I have no idea how any of this ties into the minority voice, but I know based on my experience that it puts a huge barrier into entering the conversation.

          16 votes
          1. [3]
            skybrian
            Link Parent
            A relatively low-effort way to contribute is to post links. There have been some structural issues with people not wanting to post at top level, so there are topics where we post them in comments....

            A relatively low-effort way to contribute is to post links. There have been some structural issues with people not wanting to post at top level, so there are topics where we post them in comments. That could be made easier to do.

            4 votes
            1. [2]
              DanBC
              Link Parent
              People complain if you post links, even if those links generate discussion. There's a genuinely weird amount of gatekeeping, and a lot of that is strongly of the "the comments come off as too...

              People complain if you post links, even if those links generate discussion. There's a genuinely weird amount of gatekeeping, and a lot of that is strongly of the "the comments come off as too pretentious or out of touch with reality." type.

              6 votes
              1. skybrian
                Link Parent
                Yes, that's true. They have to be good links, for some nebulous, biased idea of "good." But if someone doesn't like the link, it seems somewhat easier not to take it personally?

                Yes, that's true. They have to be good links, for some nebulous, biased idea of "good." But if someone doesn't like the link, it seems somewhat easier not to take it personally?

                3 votes
        2. Gaywallet
          Link Parent
          Ah okay thank you for this input. Unfortunately I've been increasingly finding myself of a similar mind, hence the desire to start this discussion. I don't want to abandon comments entirely, but...

          Ah okay thank you for this input. Unfortunately I've been increasingly finding myself of a similar mind, hence the desire to start this discussion. I don't want to abandon comments entirely, but I'm finding myself considering it.

          10 votes
  5. [9]
    NaraVara
    Link
    Wall of text incoming! Thanks for posting this. Spectators have likely seen us sparring aggressively on a number of topics but I think you're mostly on the mark here. The experience of discussing...
    • Exemplary

    Wall of text incoming!

    Thanks for posting this. Spectators have likely seen us sparring aggressively on a number of topics but I think you're mostly on the mark here. The experience of discussing any topic from any frame of reference outside that of a very specific White, male, straight, and tech-inclined perspective here generally ranges from being met with complete silence to an exhausting volume of easily dismissed, lowest-common-denominator attempts at "devil's advocacy." Even as someone who habitually seeks to be extremely fair to all valid perspectives in an discussion I find it tends to go bad because the volume of just 101 level stuff drowns out any potential for digging into actually interesting aspects of certain controversial questions. Not only does it immediately put people on the defense, it generally makes me not want to dive in because I figure it's not worth it to add myself to a pile of 50 other responses (if I'm in the hivemind) or get spammed by 4 or 5 different people each being as willfully obtuse and pedantic as possible (if I'm not).

    I would say the issue is bigger and affects more than just pushing out minority voices though. That's definitely one of the bigger major consequences, but it is also a canary-in-the-coal-mine indicator of broader cultural dysfunctions. I think some of the discussion here has tilted towards needing to create spaces where such conflict is absent (by restricting participation to certain people or by certain people based on what groups they fall into). I view this as treating a symptom rather than a cause, and treating them in ways that would actively be harmful to the health of a discussion forum overall if it results in discouraging participation. Minority groups aren't exempt from exhibiting the same kinds of toxic behaviors within their own groups, so if the root cause isn't addressed I think you get the same problem along different dimensions in any subforums. Like I, as a South Asian, tend to be put off by most South Asian discussion spaces because they're either overrun by Right Wing nationalists who spend all day being outraged about Muslims or Liberals or dominated by priggish Left Wing identarians who will turn every normal ass thing into an excuse to engage in a self-flagellating struggle session. The forces always seem to drive towards conformity and then radicalization. The girlfriend of @Maddox would probably see my point here. While our backgrounds and the bodies we inhabit are critical aspects of our being, there is nothing liberatory about being defined by them or having them circumscribe where we can go or what we can do.

    The truth is that everyone is (or ends up being) a minority in one aspect or another at some part of their lives. Similar dynamics that make minority demographic groups feel sapped and tired any time topics get discussed happen to everyone along whatever dimension they fall outside the mainstream. It hits hardest for minority groups because it happens to them the most and it affects stuff that's core to their identity. But it is important to keep in mind that these dynamics stand to drag everybody down.

    Most social media is structured around everyone sharing and publishing their own perspective. It's a very personalized and individual thing that doesn't really leave room for anything larger than the self. It's all about what do I think? How do I react to this? Do I think this belongs here or not? This mentality is toxic to discussion because a productive discussion needs to be about what do we each think? Where do we differ? What information do you have that can broaden my perspective on this topic? It's about creating a consensus between one or more participants. They don't need to agree at all, but they do need to establish what each party thinks, where they differ and why, and whether those differences are reconcilable or if we can agree to disagree. Political and identarian issue discussions here rarely achieve this.

    I generally pick out a couple of core behavioral tendencies that cause discussions to go this way. I don't know if there's any procedural way to discourage it, it really strikes me as more an issue of habits and culture but:

    • Listening (or reading) to respond rather than to understand. This often results in people who will interpret statements or comments in the least sensible or most offensive ways possible and insist that this is what you meant rather than any number of more reasonable or charitable interpretations. This results in discussions that revolve around stupid semantic nit-picking that are a waste of everyone's time.
    • Approaching discussion as an opportunity to check someone's moral failures or flex how much smarter you are than them. Correcting errors is fine if they're material to the point. Using "You made an error therefore your opinion/perspective is invalid" is not.
    • Treating people as if they are stand-ins for broader societal/cultural/structural problems just inherently encourages assumptions of bad faith. Taken far enough this results in a tendency to conflate philosophical or ideological disagreement/criticism with aggression or violence. No conversation is possible if the default response to any sort of criticism is defensiveness.
    • Behaving as if anyone else has a responsibility to educate you on topics you don't know about/lack experience with. It's one thing to ask people to explain why you are wrong. But often, in online discussions within that "White, male, straight, and tech-inclined perspective" I talked about, it's almost used like a dominance posturing thing: "Prove me wrong or I will continue to hold and espouse this dumbass take of mine." Someone taking the time to educate you on a topic is an act of love and generosity that should be reciprocated with gratitude and respect, even if you disagree. But if all you ever get is excuses for why they should continue saying whatever they were saying as if you never engaged with them at all why would you bother or continue participating in that?

    All these happen all the time all over the Internet. I don't know if there's a programmatic way to fix it. At best I think we can identify the issues and be aware that once we start slipping into these behaviors we should step back. (And this is something everyone in this thread, including myself, have done in the past so none of us are immune). Most productive, moderated discussions have an actual moderator who is impartial and has the job of ensuring these things don't happen and trying to keep the people involved on track. Even in old internet forums the 'forum culture' generally worked to keep some things in line if it was healthy. The structure of Tildes (and Reddit and Twitter and Facebook) doesn't permit any of this because, like I said, it's all atomized bits of content that centers me and my views alone.

    25 votes
    1. [2]
      Deimos
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Matthew Yglesias's post about the NYT / Slate Star Codex situation ended with a good section about this (kind of a long quote, but I don't think it shortens well): Like I said in my own top-level...

      Matthew Yglesias's post about the NYT / Slate Star Codex situation ended with a good section about this (kind of a long quote, but I don't think it shortens well):

      Long story short, I am neither a fully on-board rationalist nor Slate Star Codex diehard, but I liked the blog and I enjoy its successor blog, too. I highly recommend it to you.

      And critically, by “highly recommend it to you” I do not mean “I agree with all the takes.” I think contemporary society is willing itself into a state of incredible stupidity by wanting to evaluate the worthwhileness of reading something purely on the basis of whether or not it’s correct. When I was in high school, I used to like to peruse issues of National Review, The Weekly Standard, The New Republic, The Nation, and Mother Jones at the library. I would learn new things in every issue. And it was a good habit to get a wide range of takes on politics.

      Now in the internet era, we have too much content to be completists like that.

      But even more so, social media incentivizes the wrong kind of reading. Today you read someone from a rival school of thought in order to find the paragraph or sentence that, when pulled out of context and paired with a witty Twitter quip, will garner you lots of little hearts. I’m as guilty of doing this as anyone. A lot of very smart people have poured a lot of time and energy into making you want to collect those little hearts.

      That said, the way you learn things and get smarter is to read strong writers and try to understand what they’re saying — not by trying to pick it apart for clout or finding ways to caricature and snark about it. Instead, try to understand what it is the writer is saying and why people believe that. A really good recent-ish example of this was Cory Robin’s “The Enigma of Clarence Thomas,” which tries to really engage with and explain the content of Thomas’ judicial and political thought, not to “debunk” it but to elucidate how a certain style of racial pessimism can be leveraged to support very right-wing views.

      The other day I wrote something critical about Ibram Kendi’s take on the achievement gap, but I sandwiched it with overall praise for his book. Some people in the comments took me to be deflecting or protesting too much, but I really think everyone should read it. It’s important to read strong writers with big, influential ideas and understand what they’re saying. I learned an incredible amount from Robert Nozick as a professor because he was a brilliant man with unusual ideas, and the value of the experience is not summed up by the fact that I still think libertarianism is kind of ridiculous.

      I have never in my life identified as a “free speech absolutist” and I hope I never will. But something about the internet is making people into infantile conformists with no taste or appreciation for the life of the mind, and frankly, I’m sick of it.

      Like I said in my own top-level comment as well, lately I've been feeling exhausted by the relentless cynicism on the internet. Even here, it's common for most of the comments on an article (or replies to a comment) to be pedantic complaints about minor details in an otherwise interesting piece of writing. It makes me not want to post things when I think it'll most likely just get dismissive responses.

      Some people don't even read further than the title before rushing to the comments to be contrarian. Tildes certainly isn't the worst; I've described the commenting culture of Hacker News before as, "I've read the title of your article, and now I will tell you why the whole thing is completely wrong." We're not anywhere near HN-level yet, but there's definitely some of that same feeling sometimes, especially on particular topics.

      I don't really know what to do about it. I've been thinking that a large part of the cause might be because sites encourage (or even force) people that are strongly pro-X and anti-X to occupy the same spaces. This is obviously more of a problem when it's a serious topic, but it works poorly even for relatively trivial things. As a recent example, pretty much every discussion about Cyberpunk 2077 on the internet was completely unusable for the people that actually enjoyed the game, because they were all flooded by people that weren't even playing it and just wanted to be cynical. Any kind of positive comment ended up with the person needing to defend themself against a barrage of people that were only there to be negative with each other.

      I've said before that even though people often use it as an insulting way of describing a community, there are a lot of aspects in common between an "echo chamber" and a community that people enjoy being a part of. There isn't a clear line between them. It's exhausting to need to be on the defensive and debate constantly, so while "all opinions are welcome" might seem desirable from a purely intellectual standpoint it's not necessarily a great goal in practice. Like I said, I don't know what the answer is. But maybe something worth exploring is whether there's a reasonable way to separate cynical and supportive groups.

      25 votes
      1. NaraVara
        Link Parent
        Yeah. I think joining in on a dogpile and participating in hating on something is sort of a “self-rewarding” behavior. It’s the same kind of fun as riffing on a meme, such as putting a seated...

        Yeah. I think joining in on a dogpile and participating in hating on something is sort of a “self-rewarding” behavior. It’s the same kind of fun as riffing on a meme, such as putting a seated Bernie Sanders in random contexts you’re repeating cliches and cherry picking evidence about why you can’t trust so-and-so or about how this-or-that is the greatest threat to Western Civilization. It ends up being the semantic equivalent of an image exploitable. You just plug it into some sort of outrage mad lib and you’re good to go.

        I think part of the challenge is combining the opinion with the people having the opinion. In @gaywallet’s specific issue about voices being drowned out it doesn’t sound like it’s anything offensive about any particular perspective. But it’s a huge volume of one narrow range of perspectives that drowns everything else out. The opinions, as in the specific ideas under discussion” can be treated equally but if everyone would just read the rest of the discussion first and ask themselves “am I adding something new and interesting here or am I just another voice in a chorus?” it would go a long way. But I think a lot of people enjoy being a voice in the chorus so there would need to be some way to make that not so fun.

        And in more general contexts, the need to agree or disagree with stuff tends to put undue weight behind the most easily digested opinions for each side, which tend to be the more extreme ones since nuance is hard.

        10 votes
    2. [6]
      Gaywallet
      Link Parent
      I think it's important to note that some minority groups are fighting for a right to exist in the societies they are present in. We also all live very different lives. We're privileged enough to...

      It hits hardest for minority groups because it happens to them the most and it affects stuff that's core to their identity. But it is important to keep in mind that these dynamics stand to drag everybody down.

      I think it's important to note that some minority groups are fighting for a right to exist in the societies they are present in. We also all live very different lives. We're privileged enough to have the free time and capacity to be on this website, but what we prioritize differs from person to person, not to mention what we want to do in our free time.

      This is a long roundabout way of saying that I know people who were on this website previously who had very little mental capacity to deal with the kind of behavior they saw here. These people were the first to leave. They left because their mental capacity was already taken up dealing with the ramifications of simply existing. They were struggling to get by, had months where they were homeless, were dealing with mental illnesses and other health issues.

      There are many of us on this website who are privileged enough to not have these concerns and to not think about this in the same light as someone like that might. What is draining for me, or how much I wish to engage is vastly different than for someone else who exists on this website and I want to protect because I value their opinion. It's a lot more than just 'its core to their identity' - it's that they have more identities which are more scorned by society at large.

      17 votes
      1. [5]
        NaraVara
        Link Parent
        Honestly if people are in that bad of a mental space I would question whether it's healthy to be spending time in a general-interest online discussion forum at all. I get that is sucks to not feel...
        • Exemplary

        Honestly if people are in that bad of a mental space I would question whether it's healthy to be spending time in a general-interest online discussion forum at all. I get that is sucks to not feel comfortable, but what you're describing sounds like a war vet with PTSD going to a July 4th picnic. Coping strategies for things like that need to be worked out in therapy.

        I don't know if it's reasonable to have a space that can both work as a venue for open discussion and a free exchange of ideas that can also be a safe-space for people processing trauma. These goals are at cross purposes. Discussion requires engagement with ideas we find uncomfortable. Conversation, understanding, or even learning is impossible under those conditions.

        23 votes
        1. [2]
          lonjil
          Link Parent
          It doesn't have to be that they're in a really terrible mental state with PTSD and shit. Could just be that they're completely tired of dealing with shit in real life and don't want to deal with...

          It doesn't have to be that they're in a really terrible mental state with PTSD and shit. Could just be that they're completely tired of dealing with shit in real life and don't want to deal with even more shit online.

          18 votes
          1. NaraVara
            Link Parent
            I’d say that specific thing gets addressed just by having a broader spectrum of representation so it doesn’t always feel like it’s on the [token member of group’s] shoulders (whether that’s...

            I’d say that specific thing gets addressed just by having a broader spectrum of representation so it doesn’t always feel like it’s on the [token member of group’s] shoulders (whether that’s self-imposed or not).

            I think that falls separately from feeling unable to disengage or interpreting activity here as an attack on their existence.

            6 votes
        2. [2]
          Gaywallet
          Link Parent
          Why must we operate in such extremes? I'm just asking that we do a better job creating a welcoming environment and pay closer attention to when certain voices are being drowned out by a vocal...

          Why must we operate in such extremes? I'm just asking that we do a better job creating a welcoming environment and pay closer attention to when certain voices are being drowned out by a vocal majority.

          I merely wished to point out that it felt unfair to me to minimize this down to an issue of whether an identity was core to them or whether it was an accessory. The summary in my post about how I imagined seeing the what's hard about being a woman thread seemed to resonate with multiple women here and that's the point I'm trying to drive home here - they didn't seem to wish to engage because of the environment we were creating, however, part of this environment was created with the idea that everyone is on the same foot mentally and emotionally.

          There's an axis here between being a safe space and letting this place become an echo chamber and all I'm suggesting is that our current state is a bit too far towards echo chamber and could use a nudge in the direction of safe space. The behavior I'm seeing is making me not want to engage because I'm incredibly upset by how much of an echo chamber we can be towards certain identities and I would like to see people advocate for the voices they don't get to hear often just a little bit more so they can feel safe to share those opinions.

          16 votes
          1. NaraVara
            Link Parent
            I didn’t really see any extremes there, they’re just two separate goals in contention with each other that need to be balanced. And I mentioned a few ground rules that you can’t really have a...

            I didn’t really see any extremes there, they’re just two separate goals in contention with each other that need to be balanced. And I mentioned a few ground rules that you can’t really have a discussion forum without. It’s not about whether an issue is core to someone OR not. It’s about the underlying causes that make interacting here feel draining and unproductive and why it hits some people harder than others. There’s no opposition there, just a statement that “while you may not think this will make things better for you it still does.”

            I also don’t see an axis here. Discussions that can’t happen because it’s an echo chamber make it a bad discussion forum. But there’s real issues with ghettoizing participants into their own safe corner that are problematic as well. Like I mentioned concerns around what happens to members of minority communities who don’t conform to the mainstream perspective within that community? If the underlying problems don’t get addressed in a more holistic way it just results in mini-echo chambers rather than inclusive or diverse spaces. Like I said initially, there’s nothing liberatory about feeling like you have to color inside a specific set of lines to be accepted within the fenced in play area that was supposed to be designated for you.

            12 votes
  6. [6]
    monarda
    Link
    Thanks for bringing this up. I think I started getting tired of participating in anything cultural, minority, or women related last July when Reclaiming Indian food from the white gaze was posted....

    Thanks for bringing this up. I think I started getting tired of participating in anything cultural, minority, or women related last July when Reclaiming Indian food from the white gaze was posted. For both the threads you posted, I thought heavily on them and tried writing posts, but soon realized I couldn't write something fast enough to really matter. The "Stop telling women they have imposter syndrome" affected my headspace the most because I really liked the article, and it helped evolve some of my thoughts. By the time I was beginning to synthesize that into words, the thread wasn't really about that anymore. Actually it's a lot more than that. It's like being invited to dinner, but when you arrive there's not a chair for you. No it's not like that either because that doesn't capture what it's also like to have to start from a defensive position.

    Screw it, I don't know how to articulate it.

    32 votes
    1. [5]
      Loire
      Link Parent
      It's interesting that you bring up the Reclaiming Indian Food post because I made a similar decision to you to pull away from "controversial" topics on tildes (even considering deleting the...

      It's interesting that you bring up the Reclaiming Indian Food post because I made a similar decision to you to pull away from "controversial" topics on tildes (even considering deleting the account and lurking at one point) following that thread (as well as a number of others around the same time), but for very different reasons.

      These sorts of posts where it's suggested that minorities and the lesser represented are leaving tildes tend to hit me hard because the only reason I am here, as opposed to having remained on Reddit, is for the broad(er) spectrum of viewpoints and opinions. I recognize as a cis, white male that I can go most places on the internet and be "accepted" while that isn't true for many of our fellow posters, and because of that I have to temper my fairly "mainstream" (or "centrist" in the case of politics) opinions so as not to alienate anyone. I noticed, and was reported to me, that I was doing exactly that in my first year and a half on tildes and as a result I have made a conscious, although not always successful, effort to avoid posting in topics that will engender controversy or heated debate.

      While I'd like to think I have something to add to the conversation, if my opinions are alienating other posters then it ultimately defeats the purpose of tildes. I'm not exactly a great thinker, so I learn and grow by synthesizing other's opinions into a (hopefully) coherent whole. Every time tildes becomes a little more "straight white male" we lose out on an important intellectual perspective.

      I don't really know what the ultimate solution is for the problem of minority posters getting alienated. The internet is so dominantly white and male that every new member of tildes is more likely to be of that demo than a minority. Perhaps the changes @Diemos has in mind will make a difference, maybe not. Regardless, the demographics that make up tildes are important to its overall health so whatever changes are necessary should be brought into play.

      10 votes
      1. [3]
        cfabbro
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        For what it's worth, I also want to echo @monarda by saying that I appreciate your contributions here on Tildes too, and I'm glad you're still with us. And while you mentioned trying to avoid...

        For what it's worth, I also want to echo @monarda by saying that I appreciate your contributions here on Tildes too, and I'm glad you're still with us. And while you mentioned trying to avoid controversial topics more these days, something you didn't mention (and may not have even noticed in yourself?) that I have noticed, is a distinct change in the overall harshness of the tone in your writing over the years. These days you seem to be much more conciliatory (in a good way), and far more sensitive to the perspective of others here who disagree with you, even when you are choosing to address "controversial" topics (e.g. the fossil fuel industry)... which I also greatly appreciate, and admire the effort of (whether conscious or not). So 👍 & ❤️. :)

        12 votes
        1. [2]
          Loire
          Link Parent
          I appreciate both your and @monarda's replies. The "less harsh replies" is twofold. One, I think was just a gradual recalibrating. Most of my life was spent on small scale forums prior to 2011 and...

          I appreciate both your and @monarda's replies.

          The "less harsh replies" is twofold. One, I think was just a gradual recalibrating. Most of my life was spent on small scale forums prior to 2011 and Reddit from 2011-2017 and a harsher or cynical tone tended to work better within those mediums (part of the problem I believe tildes is trying to address). It takes a while to reprogram those instincts. It was especially hard when a former poster on tildes, who I interacted with a lot before their ban, was ascerbic as hell in almost every single post.

          Secondly I just came to realize that it's contrary to my goals of being here on tildes. While I am personally a pretty devoted semi-stoic in the sense that I don't allow pretty much anything to upset me, especially online, I came to realize (largely through topics like thisthread) that not everyone is, or can be, like me in that sense, and I can't expect them to just brush off negativity.

          I don't really post anywhere but tildes now (for a number of reasons) so I can't really say if the reprogramming applies outside these walls but I think it says a lot about the mission that it can create change in internet habits. At least for a few of us.

          9 votes
          1. cfabbro
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            I have felt it necessary to do similar too, and someone on the Discord the other day even echoed and encapsulated the sentiment in a perfect, concise way too: I am not trying to make excuses,...

            I have felt it necessary to do similar too, and someone on the Discord the other day even echoed and encapsulated the sentiment in a perfect, concise way too:

            I've found myself having to de-reddit my thought process a lot as I transition more to Tildes use. It's insidious.

            I am not trying to make excuses, since I try to fully own my mistakes and am genuinely trying to correct them and my poor behaviour, but I do still feel like so much of the poor behaviour I have developed over the years was on Reddit, largely as a defence mechanism against all the bad-faith behaviour, hostility, and cynicism that is so prevalent there. And it's taken a surprisingly considerable amount of effort to undo those bad habits here, and despite all that effort, I still feel like I have a long way to go yet. :( Which is also why I really do appreciate when I see someone else trying to do the same, like you clearly have as well.

            7 votes
      2. monarda
        Link Parent
        Hey Loire, I just wanted you to know that I appreciate your voice here. I don't always agree with you, and sometimes I'm annoyed by your words, but your words sometimes allow me to confront why I...

        Hey Loire,

        I just wanted you to know that I appreciate your voice here. I don't always agree with you, and sometimes I'm annoyed by your words, but your words sometimes allow me to confront why I think about something the way I do, and I always appreciate that. I've also read your words, and thought "Well said!" I tend to stay away from replying to you, or in threads that you're participating heavily in because I'm sorely outmatched by your writing. In person, I think you're very much the type of person I wouldn't mind talking with or even verbally sparring with around the bbq.

        11 votes
  7. bloup
    Link
    I just wanted to take an opportunity to discuss my feelings on this comment I made on the ableist language thread:...
    • Exemplary

    I just wanted to take an opportunity to discuss my feelings on this comment I made on the ableist language thread: https://tildes.net/~talk/v39/replacing_ableist_and_mental_health_exclusive_language_crazy_insane_whack#comment-668h

    As a person who struggles with mental health problems, I've noticed a particularly nasty recurring pattern of social behavior that pops up on communities all over the internet, and unfortunately I think my comment is a great example of it. Members of a marginalized group are platformed when what they are saying (at least superficially) seems to support the status quo, and sanctioned when they bring up any grievance that would actually require some kind of minimal amount of effort to address. I am sure people upvoted this comment because they thought I was saying "there is absolutely nothing wrong with saying that word" when really I was explaining to that particular individual why I don't think they should put too much stake in how people use it. They were just trying to explain why they didn't like people using it. But they got what I like to call "the tildes downvote" and I am sure it felt like their opinions didn't matter to anybody, and this was something that was clearly important to them. I really wanted to say something, but it really was upsetting for me, as well, and was extremely reminiscent of experiences I have personally had with other online communities. I hope they know how sorry I am that I didn't stick up for them :(

    Please just know that while I personally don't think you need to scrub your vocabulary of that word, if someone who personally identifies with that word explains to you that they don't like you using it, to rationalize away their feelings and opinions and to continue using it anyway in their presence is extremely disrespectful. Like there is more social consideration given to using words like "moist" for god's sake.

    And lastly, if you are going to platform a member of a marginalized group, don't just do it for the ones that happen to represent the least social inertia for you, personally. Because it tokenizes them while disrespecting everyone else.

    On the flipside, I will say this community, while not perfect, is leagues better than mostly everything else on the internet. Like this thread exists, for example.

    16 votes
  8. kfwyre
    Link
    This is incredibly thoughtful. Thank you for taking the time and effort to type it out. I hope it sparks some self-reflection and consideration for our goals here. You’ve given me, and I hope...

    This is incredibly thoughtful. Thank you for taking the time and effort to type it out. I hope it sparks some self-reflection and consideration for our goals here. You’ve given me, and I hope others too, a lot to think about.

    I know that, in my time here, I’ve personally seen several women leave the site deliberately (to say nothing of people of other minority demographics as well), and I think it’s vital for for us to evaluate why that’s happening and what we can do about it.

    21 votes
  9. sky_Pharaoh
    Link
    The internet in general is dominated by straight white men so unfortunately this isn't going to change any time soon, no matter how hard people try to be welcoming to women and/or minorities....

    The internet in general is dominated by straight white men so unfortunately this isn't going to change any time soon, no matter how hard people try to be welcoming to women and/or minorities. However, as a woman, I really wasn't a fan of that imposter syndrome article and I actually agreed with most of the posts in that thread, none of it seemed "problematic" to me but I see how some of the responses could be perceived that way.

    17 votes
  10. [5]
    Rez
    Link
    The difficulty I see in this is that it feels like it's asking me to play the trope of "white male liberal savior". I don't know how to jump in and defend people without some arrogant assumptions...

    we need to be good allies and help balance the scales.

    The difficulty I see in this is that it feels like it's asking me to play the trope of "white male liberal savior". I don't know how to jump in and defend people without some arrogant assumptions going on on my part, because it means I need to correctly identify the minority voice (in its particular Tildes flavor), and to know enough to appropriately defend it on their behalf without irking anyone from that community. But a lot of what goes into a strong defense on issues like this is being able to stand by your personal lived experience, and my lived experience is that I'm pretty confident that no one wants me busting out the trope of "I'm a white male but I have a friend who is x".

    Even in minority communities, there is diversity, since we're all individuals and not stereotypes. Women aren't a monolith, e.g. there are plenty of pro-life women even though I'm a pro-choice man. I suspect that it would be much easier for a woman to be pro-life on here than a man. For all the LGBT people, minorities and others I've known in real life, I could very easily offend someone on here if I tried to play that role of assumptious defender, because at the end of the day in online forums like this, in these discussions it tends to come down to whether or not you can claim it was your personal, lived experience.

    15 votes
    1. bloup
      Link Parent
      There doesn't need to be any kind of "savior". People just need to be more respectful of others, and be more willing to call out disrespectful behavior. And honestly this isn't even like a...

      There doesn't need to be any kind of "savior". People just need to be more respectful of others, and be more willing to call out disrespectful behavior. And honestly this isn't even like a "marginalized groups" thing, people are just very mean and disrespectful to each other on the internet, in general. Marginalized groups just get the worst of it. I mean, that's why they are called "marginalized". But truly I think every negative interaction I have ever witnessed or personally experienced in this vein could really just be summed up as "disrespect" or maybe "lack of consideration". Motivation's important too, for sure, but it doesn't change the solution.

      9 votes
    2. [3]
      Gaywallet
      Link Parent
      Thank you for bringing this up, because I understand your hesitance and concern. I believe @micycle_the_bichael (or rather their friend) does a great job at explaining precisely the role of an...

      Thank you for bringing this up, because I understand your hesitance and concern. I believe @micycle_the_bichael (or rather their friend) does a great job at explaining precisely the role of an ally in the linked comment.

      I care a lot more about the emotions of someone trying to defend me than if they get everything 100% correct. You know the saying, he's a little confused, but he got the spirit? I think this applies here. If I can tell someone values me and is trying to protect me, I'm going to be okay with them stumbling a little along the way. I can't expect a non-trans to fully understand trans issues, but I don't expect them to either. If they get something wrong, I'll probably tell them in private at a later time, but I can't tell you how much my heart swells when I see someone else protecting my interests and saying to the world 'fuck you, this person is important to me and I don't appreciate it when you do that'.

      9 votes
      1. [2]
        Rez
        Link Parent
        It just tends to by my experience that my trying to speak up on behalf of those who are silent or in need of defense comes across like what @NaraVara said about "priggish Left Wing identarians who...

        It just tends to by my experience that my trying to speak up on behalf of those who are silent or in need of defense comes across like what @NaraVara said about "priggish Left Wing identarians who will turn every normal ass thing into an excuse to engage in a self-flagellating struggle session." What I see you arguing for feels no different than asking me to be that way, because I know the rituals I have to go through concerning self-flagellation in online discussion or else I get told I'm part of the problem. Emotions are not easily read online so it's easy to assess someone's intent wrongly. I'm not denying a problem exists. I just suppose that in a way, since you're directly speaking towards my cohort, I have to share my opinion on what it feels like you're asking me. In terms of the direct feedback I receive from my actions, it seems like there are many topics I'm better off just not participating in at all, especially if I want to go in acting like some white knight defending others. It's because this is an anonymous online forum. For a lot of people reading this comment, this will be their first impression of me, and they will be making judgments only on this content. Other users will recognize me and feed what I'm saying into their existing impression of me, good or bad. But for the people who will inevitably be reading my stuff for the first time, I have to establish my credentials every time explicitly or implicitly (the self-flagellation), lest I be attacked for "Who are you to speak up on my behalf?"

        10 votes
        1. lonjil
          Link Parent
          I don't think anyone here is proposing that people should engage in white knighting or self-flagellation. My own summery of the problem would be that Tildes sometimes gets into circlejerk pile-ons...

          I don't think anyone here is proposing that people should engage in white knighting or self-flagellation.

          My own summery of the problem would be that Tildes sometimes gets into circlejerk pile-ons for certain opinions when certain topics come up, which drown out some people, opinions, feelings, and thoughts. We need to be more mindful to not contribute to those situations, and, even if we ultimately disagree, listen to and engage with minority thoughts. We don't have to go on white saviour crusades for them. Just, listen, and not overwhelm with a dozen vaguely similar negative replies.

          10 votes
  11. [4]
    AnthonyB
    Link
    I'm having a hard time thinking of good solutions to this issue that aren't "bring more people to tildes." I think you make an excellent point about how minority users experience certain threads;...

    I'm having a hard time thinking of good solutions to this issue that aren't "bring more people to tildes." I think you make an excellent point about how minority users experience certain threads; however, I think our issues differ significantly from twitter/reddit/instagram/facebook/etc in that our users are posting and debating in good faith. Like you said, people aren't intentionally trying to create a hostile environment. The opinions expressed in the imposter syndrome and ablest language threads weren't ideal, but they were very thoughtful and driven by each individual's personal experience. I don't know what that leaves us other than, "don't speak up if it isn't about you." I don't think its necessarily productive to have rules (written or unwritten) about how someone should engage with a post based on their identity, at least not with the size of our community. "Country club" threads are a great idea for larger communities, but we aren't close to being there yet. Right now, we need all the engagement we can get and if those users didn't share their opinion we would've had yet another empty thread. I don't see how that helps. Furthermore, discouraging a person from expressing a thoughtful opinion on the basis of their identity will likely drive people away from content and ideas that will better inform their worldview.

    On a personal note, I found the ablest language thread to be very thought-provoking and it really challenged my views on the matter. That would not have happened if not for the lively debate that took place in the comments section. At the risk of making myself sound like an ass, I'll admit that I had seen an article about ablest language last summer and mocked it with my partner because we thought it went too far and was...irrational. Thanks to some of the thoughtful opinions expressed by users of this site - users I recognize and admire - I reconsidered my stance on the issue. I'm sure it was is very exhausting for some users to have to constantly argue their position with people who just don't get it. I can empathize because I have been involved in similar conversations about race on other platforms and it is fucking exhausting. But that's how it works. Rather than avoiding these conversations or tinkering with the way they take place, we should try to make sure that there are enough voices to represent a group so the burden doesn't fall on the same handful of people every time these topics come up. It's a lot easier to explain your position when someone else is speaking up alongside you.

    I hate to say it over and over, but part of this problem feels like a natural consequence of the tech-heavy community we have. When a third or half of our thread topics are comp/programming/tech related, we are likely to attract an audience that disproportionately favors white men since they are the largest demographic in that field. The philosophy here is beautiful, but I worry that if we don't expand our horizons now, we will end up like digg and reddit, where the user's identity is assumed to be a straight cis white 20-something man that work in STEM. One minority demographic that appears to have significant representation on tildes is lgbtqia, perhaps as a consequence of the activity in ~lgbt. Maybe we should consider forming similar subgroups that create a safe space to discuss issues for other marginalized communities. Maybe if we had a ~women or ~nonbinary or ~poc, we would see more representation from those groups. Not to mention, we wouldn't have articles about women's issues posted in ~life or ~talk.

    14 votes
    1. [2]
      Micycle_the_Bichael
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      This is advice that was given to me that works a lot better/easier in person, and is advice to a white dude (at that time, me). Paraphrasing: "I want white dudes to be the first line of defense....
      • Exemplary

      I can empathize because I have been involved in similar conversations about race on other platforms and it is fucking exhausting. But that's how it works. Rather than avoiding these conversations or tinkering with the way they take place, we should try to make sure that there are enough voices to represent a group so the burden doesn't fall on the same handful of people every time these topics come up. It's a lot easier to explain your position when someone else is speaking up alongside you.

      This is advice that was given to me that works a lot better/easier in person, and is advice to a white dude (at that time, me). Paraphrasing: "I want white dudes to be the first line of defense. When someone says something problematic, challenge them on it. Don't make it the problem of a marginalized person to call out shitty behavior. Once that conversation has started, continue with it to the best of your abilities, but if a marginalized person is present and jumps in, make sure their voice is the main one. Don't make me constantly be the 'bad guy' for calling out shitty behavior, but if I start to speak on an issue, don't speak over me." Though, this advice doesn't really work for things like threads looking for specific people's opinions, I think in those cases it should be "probably don't comment top-level unless you're a member of that group" but I think that's getting more into the weeds than I'm really looking to do in this comment.

      I hate to say it over and over, but part of this problem feels like a natural consequence of the tech-heavy community we have. When a third or half of our thread topics are comp/programming/tech related, we are likely to attract an audience that disproportionately favors white men since they are the largest demographic in that field.

      strongly agree. Tildes will continue to have issues of constantly shifting towards homogeneity as long as the content is topics that white men typically dominate. Both because marginalized groups have lesser likelihood of being interested/exposed to the topics, and because people are going to come to Tildes with baggage. Yes, people coming to Tildes are (typically) trying to escape the way other forums act, but people aren't going to show up here and immediately assume it is some sort of paradise where they can suddenly freely comment. If your experience talking about certain subjects has been negative, you're probably not going to want to comment on those threads until you've decided you're not going to be met with the same hostility. Tildes is in this really weird place right now where I don't know how we fix the "type of content" problem without a large increase of diverse users, but getting those new users to stay is going to be hard if the content is mostly things that are of interest to white men.

      In the end, I think maaayyybbbeeee more subgroups is a potential solution. At least giving members of marginalized groups a dedicated home base on Tildes would help to encourage more people of different backgrounds to stay on Tildes. Being able to follow a subgroup on Tildes might be a happy medium between Tildes ('large' forum site about many topics) and a discord/fedverse thingy (yeah my brain is dead I'm sorry :( )

      14 votes
      1. Gaywallet
        Link Parent
        I'm going to come around later and exemplary this, because this is precisely what I'm trying to advocate for in this post. At the very bottom of my post my call to action is to be more cognizant...

        Paraphrasing: "I want white dudes to be the first line of defense. When someone says something problematic, challenge them on it. Don't make it the problem of a marginalized person to call out shitty behavior. Once that conversation has started, continue with it to the best of your abilities, but if a marginalized person is present and jumps in, make sure their voice is the main one.

        I'm going to come around later and exemplary this, because this is precisely what I'm trying to advocate for in this post. At the very bottom of my post my call to action is to be more cognizant of the general feel for a thread. Does the thread seem unbalanced with the majority presenting a certain opinion? Is there a user arguing the same point in 10 different threads because they feel strongly about it? Read a thread in the meta narrative sense to figure this out and chime in to ensure people don't feel excluded or not welcome.

        However, to be clear, I do want the lively debate that @AnthonyB saw in the ableist post to exist because it absolutely does change minds. I think the issue that I saw with it, was that a certain mindset was clearly dominant in the replies and the counter narrative was being drowned out by an army of people ready to state their opinion which was already firmly stated in every comment chain present. I would have liked more people to shut down that kind of behavior, because that's what made it feel the most unwelcoming.

        12 votes
    2. streblo
      Link Parent
      I very much agree with the stated goal of making everyone comfortable in discussion but I also don't know what the solution could be. I'm not even sure if the "about you clause is enough." Maybe...

      The opinions expressed in the imposter syndrome and ablest language threads weren't ideal, but they were very thoughtful and driven by each individual's personal experience. I don't know what that leaves us other than, "don't speak up if it isn't about you."

      I very much agree with the stated goal of making everyone comfortable in discussion but I also don't know what the solution could be. I'm not even sure if the "about you clause is enough."

      Maybe I'm reading too much into everyone's words here but as someone who participated in the relevant-to-me ableist discussion on team 'devil's advocates' I'm not sure where to go from here. In this case I very much felt like a voice that was also qualified and deserved to be heard. My goal wasn't to be obnoxious or force people to defend their feelings. This is more of a rhetorical question directed at the community but should I not participate if I am part of the in-group but have a dissenting opinion?

      7 votes
  12. [4]
    Comment deleted by author
    Link
    1. Gaywallet
      Link Parent
      Hello friend, I'm sorry if this thread has been a bit of a shock to you. I do not think that this is representative of Tildes as a whole, but rather some one-off problematic threads that I've seen...

      Hello friend, I'm sorry if this thread has been a bit of a shock to you. I do not think that this is representative of Tildes as a whole, but rather some one-off problematic threads that I've seen and this discussion is meant to highlight how this can be problematic and drive some users off.

      I don't know you, but a big part of the reason I came to this website was because I was tired of not hearing from people like you. I was tired of all the 'first' comments on reddit turning into puns and edgy humor and for the minority voices to be drowned out except outside of heavily curated private subs. Most of the time I can guess what the top 3-4 comment threads will be in any thread based purely on the title. This isn't fun, useful, or educational to me and its why the platform has mostly left my life.

      I can't speak for everyone here, but I think the general consensus is that people here want to hear your voice, we're just struggling with how best to ensure we can create a welcoming environment that doesn't cause you and others like you to flee, while maintaining some of the values we find important such as high quality discussion.

      11 votes
    2. spit-evil-olive-tips
      Link Parent
      Welcome! I'm glad you're here, and hope you stick around.

      Welcome! I'm glad you're here, and hope you stick around.

      8 votes
    3. lonjil
      Link Parent
      I don't know whether you should be preparing for that, but I'm sending you a friendly hug over the internet-waves, if that's ok.

      I don't know whether you should be preparing for that, but I'm sending you a friendly hug over the internet-waves, if that's ok.

      8 votes
  13. [19]
    culturedleftfoot
    Link
    I'm not sure I'm expressing anything particularly actionable here, and I'm not looking to point fingers either... but the thought that I keep coming back to, as mistaken as it/I might be, is that...

    I'm not sure I'm expressing anything particularly actionable here, and I'm not looking to point fingers either... but the thought that I keep coming back to, as mistaken as it/I might be, is that developing diversity of thought and people within a growing community should be a natural outgrowth of the level of curiosity of its members. I believe curious people are likely going to have a wider and more diverse range of people that they'd think can contribute here. People are looking for different experiences on this site, and something that has repeatedly come up in other conversations is that many users are primarily looking for a place to either debate or post at length on topics they like and are familiar with. I don't relate with that very much (possibly because I find typing posts tedious); I'm looking for a place where I can learn things and discuss a few, so I fully expect to lurk/read way more than post, and to engage with topics I don't already have a comfortable grasp on. Because I want to engage with a wide range of high-quality ideas (in line with the site's stated aims, I don't mean free-speech absolutism) I naturally expect and want to engage with a wide range of high-quality people.

    I obviously can't say how anyone else thinks, but maybe we have some unquestioned assumptions at work in aggregate about the value of diversity here.

    14 votes
    1. [18]
      RNG
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      I agree with you in principal, but the problem is "curiosity" in the context mentioned is often associated with this problematic white, cis-male trend to either be "curious about" or question the...

      I agree with you in principal, but the problem is "curiosity" in the context mentioned is often associated with this problematic white, cis-male trend to either be "curious about" or question the validity of the lived experience of others.

      TW: Ableism, Misogyny/Transphobia

      Non-neuro typical folks tell us ableist speech otherizes them, but does it really? What is the nature of being trans ontologically, and do enby folks actually exist? Does affirmative action do more harm than it solves?

      I'm not going to bore you with further examples, but imagine any particular case where "curiousity" from well meaning white guys means putting minority groups on the defensive about their lived experiences and their identity.

      You, hypothetical white guy making the argument, aren't unique, we've heard some permutation of this argument a billion times and defending ourselves everywhere online is fucking exhausting not to mention boring.

      If you, whoever winds up reading this, are a well-meaning white guy, and a subject being discussed is a topic relevant to the lived experiences of others or the identity of people that aren't you, maybe sit this one out. Save your curiousity for a coding thread. It's okay to let someone else have the mic.

      14 votes
      1. [2]
        culturedleftfoot
        Link Parent
        You're referring to a rather narrow view of "curiosity" that may have more to do with poor social skills, culture, and/or entitlement.

        You're referring to a rather narrow view of "curiosity" that may have more to do with poor social skills, culture, and/or entitlement.

        5 votes
        1. RNG
          Link Parent
          I don't blame "curiosity," as I mentioned that my worry was within the context specified. It is more a concern with the subculture that describes itself as "curious."

          I don't blame "curiosity," as I mentioned that my worry was within the context specified. It is more a concern with the subculture that describes itself as "curious."

          4 votes
      2. [15]
        Loire
        Link Parent
        Whats the deal with it always being "white guys"? Is it just the demographical predominance of white males on the internet? Are only white dudes discussing variables with the "curious/rational"...

        Whats the deal with it always being "white guys"? Is it just the demographical predominance of white males on the internet? Are only white dudes discussing variables with the "curious/rational" stereotype? The vast majority of racial minorities in real life are either same as their white counterparts in terms of a progressive attitude towards LGBTQ+ or, worse in terms of prejudice. Hell, it's a well studied phenomena that black Americans are significantly more homophobic than White Americans. Clearly it isn't just white men questioning the validity of sexual-minorities, so is this purely an internet experience?

        8 votes
        1. RNG
          Link Parent
          The topic discussed isn't mask-off bigots. Every person I've met that fit the mold of my previous comment was a white guy. The mold being the "curious" probably democrat-voting white guy who...

          The topic discussed isn't mask-off bigots.

          Every person I've met that fit the mold of my previous comment was a white guy. The mold being the "curious" probably democrat-voting white guy who probably self-describes as an "ally" and, unironically as a "thinker." Hacker News is almost exclusively this voice. The guy who doesn't disapprove of affirmative action due to racism (at least in his mind) but due to "optics" and whether it will do more harm. Who thinks ending ableist speech isn't "realistic."

          I've linked this a million times, but it's essentially the position of the white moderate in MLK's Letter from a Birmingham Jail:

          I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizens Councillor or the Ku Klux Klanner but the white moderate who is more devoted to order than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says, “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can’t agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically feels that he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by the myth of time; and who constantly advises the Negro to wait until a “more convenient season.”

          And, most notably, what sums up my position is this line here:

          Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

          14 votes
        2. [13]
          frostycakes
          Link Parent
          After moving to an urban core neighborhood relatively recently, it's definitely not just an internet experience. As I described it to a friend of mine, it's the white guy who votes blue, sticks a...

          After moving to an urban core neighborhood relatively recently, it's definitely not just an internet experience. As I described it to a friend of mine, it's the white guy who votes blue, sticks a Black Lives Matter sign in the yard of their house, oblivious to them having bought a house in a formerly-minority and affordable neighborhood and pushing out people. They're the type who does all that, says all the right things in social situations, then turns around and pitches a fit about upzoning or affordable housing being built there.

          It's like the people in my neighborhood who lose their minds over the homeless encampments (which yes, absolutely is a major problem) but fight against anything that would address the problem beyond just pushing them out of sight or into jail cells.

          Does this type exist across races and ethnicities? Absolutely, but the vast, vast majority I have seen, both online and in person, are white. JAQing off is a behavior I don't think I've seen much outside of the "curious white guy" types.

          3 votes
          1. [12]
            Littlemushka
            Link Parent
            I wish we could refrain from it though. I’m not a guy, but I am white and about 2 years ago I moved into a majority Hispanic community to be with my husband. Not pushing anyone out, living in a 3...

            I wish we could refrain from it though.

            I’m not a guy, but I am white and about 2 years ago I moved into a majority Hispanic community to be with my husband. Not pushing anyone out, living in a 3 bedroom house with him and his family while we save money for our own place.

            I feel like I was so naive coming into this though. I thought it would be great and I’d learn Spanish and all that. But I’ve felt so much hostility since I’ve been here. Most people treat me like how you described. I’m the gentrifying white lady coming to push everyone out who grew up with a golden spoon in her mouth.

            And the comments just kill me. From my husbands friends, from his sisters. Even from my husband in the past, about “white people”.

            Even on bumble BFF, I’ve seen people put “no white people plz”

            It’s a tough spot to be in because it doesn’t seem to be very common for the most part and it’s hard to get people to understand how stressful and painful it is. I would search google trying to find situations like mine and see what people did. But all I would get would be countless articles about “white tears” and “white fragility” and that just hits like a punch to the gut.

            And then I started noticing it more and more in the media. I listened to a podcast while back and this guy who is a therapist started going off on a rant about “white people” and how “if you’re one of those white people who do this, you need to think twice.”

            And then another podcast that was supposed to be thoughtful discussions about race relations, where a few minutes in the lady says “I have a hard time being friends with white people because they always end up doing something that pisses me off.”

            It’s really starting to effect my mental health, I have no idea where or who to go to about how I’m feeling. All I can really do is try to ignore it and stay away from the media that does that and the people who say those things.

            I feel like this is also similar to what OP is saying in a way. When people don’t understand something that’s very personal to you and start arguing against it’s validity. I have a hard time talking about this stuff because I know in my heart I’m running the risk of it becoming a debate.

            I’m not sure if there’s a point to this comment, I guess just trying to share my personal experiences in hopes of giving some perspective and food for thought.

            10 votes
            1. [5]
              Gaywallet
              Link Parent
              I'm sorry that you've been treated this way. It sucks to enter a room and be judged by your appearance. It's frustrating when you wish to integrate, but individuals do not want you to be a part of...

              I'm sorry that you've been treated this way. It sucks to enter a room and be judged by your appearance. It's frustrating when you wish to integrate, but individuals do not want you to be a part of their society. It hurts when people assume you have a malicious agenda, even more so when it's the opposite case.

              Emotions can make communication very difficult. Conversations always have an emotional purpose, and the emotional purpose can exist without it being expressly communicated or addressed. When I come to a friend and start a conversation with 'let me tell you about my day' or 'can you believe that...' or 'do you have a minute to chat' these all are indicators as to where I'm likely going with the conversation but unless I specifically say "I need vent right now" or "the most amazing thing happened" or introduce emotions into my language these things can fly under the radar. This can become problematic when two individuals are not on the same emotional wavelength or when two individuals come from societies which typically deal with specific emotions in specific ways.

              This only gets all the more confusing in a globalized world. We're often allowed into conversations we would never have had the chance to listen to or participate in. The podcast you reference, for example, is the kind of conversation that minorities often have amongst themselves and as an outsider you would never have been exposed to this unless you were lucky enough to be considered a strong enough ally. This is incredibly difficult to navigate, especially when you haven't lived amongst these individuals and you don't know the struggles they go through on a day to day basis. You haven't seen how some of society treats them negatively, or if you have you've only been exposed to it a small percentage of the time that they have - you see, you walk in your own shoes every day and you're only exposed to the lives of others when you're around to experience it and your very presence may shape the responses of others around. Two minorities out to dinner together are likely to experience a different kind of interaction than either of those same minority individuals when they are out to dinner with someone who is not a minority.

              As a society, I don't think we're at the point where we know how to have these discussions in a civil manner that isn't othering. For many of the people you are interacting with, when they say "I hate when white people do x" are often venting their frustrations at the system and not all white people. Obviously minorities have friends who are not minorities and allies are a prime example of someone who breaks the very mold they are complaining about when they say negative things about the group. But minorities are also oppressed by the system and often do not have the health or mindset to jump through the hoops to make sure everyone understands their statement does not apply to the present company or isn't absolutely universal. I've talked about cis people in derogatory ways in trans circles but I also have cis partners and many friends who I would do anything for. My best friend is black and when I run in his circles we often complain about dumb shit white people do but I don't find it offensive because I know it's not directed at me but rather the systemic issues (and I also take offense at some of this behavior).

              However, I used to be offended by this kind of stuff. There was a day and age where I used to be the person who spoke up about how hearing derogatory statements about white people and men and other majority groups I belong to because I didn't understand the emotional subtext of this communication (as an aside, there's a bit of a queer battle right now to stop hating on bisexuals who are not primarily attracted to women as this is often a mindset dominant on the internet in queer circles and is othering in a way we feel we can do better on). This kind of communication is a style of venting, and is meant more to help deal with the emotions we experience as humans than anything else. In the same way many people say things they don't mean when they're angry or upset, these people are very often angry or upset at society for treating them so negatively.

              With that being said, it's really hard to be othered. I empathize with you as I have been in situations in which I am specifically othered and it absolutely takes a toll on mental health. Sometimes it's easy to look past, but other times it's exceptionally difficult. I can imagine it's even harder feeling like you're alone in your experience and that when you seek help you are presented with people 'punching you in the gut'. If you ever want an ear to vent to, I'm around

              8 votes
              1. [4]
                Littlemushka
                Link Parent
                I think our experiences may be a bit different.

                I think our experiences may be a bit different.

                4 votes
                1. [3]
                  Gaywallet
                  Link Parent
                  Absolutely, just sharing my own experiences as you are. I hope your mental health improves. Best of luck kind stranger. 💜

                  Absolutely, just sharing my own experiences as you are. I hope your mental health improves. Best of luck kind stranger. 💜

                  2 votes
                  1. [2]
                    Littlemushka
                    Link Parent
                    This bothers me that you say this. I wasn’t going to say anything at first because I have a inkling you don’t actually want to listen, but rather want to push an agenda on me or my situation. It...

                    You haven't seen how some of society treats them negatively, or if you have you've only been exposed to it a small percentage of the time that they have - you see, you walk in your own shoes every day and you're only exposed to the lives of others when you're around to experience it and your very presence may shape the responses of others around. Two minorities out to dinner together are likely to experience a different kind of interaction than either of those same minority individuals when they are out to dinner with someone who is not a minority.

                    This bothers me that you say this. I wasn’t going to say anything at first because I have a inkling you don’t actually want to listen, but rather want to push an agenda on me or my situation. It really bothered me yesterday and I decided to bring it up today because it’s been weighing on me.

                    The way you wrote this out is incredibly condescending. Like I’ve never thought about the struggles the community I’m living in has gone through. Like you know more about my husbands family and friends, a group of people you’ve never met and I’ve spent two years with. All because you have friends that are minorities so you’re all of a sudden an expert?

                    That does not rub me the right way.

                    There’s always a deep and personal reason for hate. It doesn’t make it right though. Just because you personally think there’s a good enough excuse for it.

                    I find it incredibly hypocritical for you to make this post about listening to others and then talk to me this way.

                    I read your comment and knew I only had 2 options.

                    Either try so explain myself and my situation better so that you can understand this isn’t just “people hating on the system” but more hating on me because I represent the system to them.

                    But then I realized that I would have to spill out all the things that have been done to me and said to me, just for a bunch of people on the internet to pick apart the validity like vultures.

                    It took me one year to get my husband to understand what’s been going with me here. One whole year of dismissals and brushing situations aside and acting like it’s all in my head.

                    I’m not reliving that again on an Internet forum.

                    Or I could just walk away from it.

                    I chose to walk away from it, but I had to come back to explain myself because your comment really bothers me.

                    It is dismissing, wrapped in a bow of “I care and understand.”

                    But ultimately it is dismissing, and the opposite of what you preach in this post.

                    Because you may not outright say it, but I can definitely tell you made assumptions about my situation, me, and the other people in it.

                    You said it was just “sharing experiences.” But it really comes across as a lecture. And the comment I quoted I think really shows that off.

                    7 votes
                    1. Gaywallet
                      Link Parent
                      Apologies, as much as I consider myself a communicator, it's clear I've failed dearly here in my communication. It does not matter what my intent was at this point, it is clear that what I have...

                      Apologies, as much as I consider myself a communicator, it's clear I've failed dearly here in my communication.

                      It does not matter what my intent was at this point, it is clear that what I have said has diminished your experience and treated you unjustly. I am sorry. You are absolutely someone who deserves to be listened to and who's experiences are both valid and important to society. Thank you for sharing your opinion and in doing so helping me to understand better how to communicate in the future.

                      I'm going to spend a minute trying to rephrase what I said here because I think there was a miscommunication, however if you feel this is unwelcome or not helpful, then feel free to skip it. I would greatly appreciate any input you can give me on how to be a better person in the future, however, as I do not wish to harm anyone in the way I have harmed you today.


                      My intention was not to diminish what you've been through or experienced. What I meant to say, is that even I cannot possibly comprehend what my minority friends go through unless they happen to share an identity with me. For example, I'm transgender so I have an understanding of shared transgender struggles. But I want to stop there because even for other transgender individuals, I truly can't understand what they're going through. No two people are the same, and as of such, no two people with a shared intersectional identity will be the same either. The kind of harassment I've suffered from is not the same harassment that other transgender individuals suffer.

                      A good example of this that ties with my privileged childhood is that I have never truly struggled to get a job. I see many of my friends and partners struggle with this in a way that I never have, and because of this I am in a way blind to what this looks and feels like. I can only understand it through how they explain it to me and when I'm lucky enough to be around people venting about this. As much as I can empathize with other transgender individuals, at best I can only sympathize on this particular issue as it has not been something I have truly suffered from.

                      But we can take this a step further even, and talk about shared experiences. I've been sexually harassed and assaulted on account of being a transgender individual. Most transgender people I know and sadly most female presenting (or assigned female at birth) people also have experienced this to some fashion. However, even within this space the frequency and intensty of experiences are going to differ. While I have been told by many people that I am conventionally attractive, I am also rather large and muscular, so I do not attract the attention of some predators the same way other smaller, lither transgender and female individuals do. Even when I do get assaulted, the same thoughts probably do not cross my mind as do those in more peril due to their size and stature.

                      I say all this simply to point out that it is impossible to truly know someone elses struggle without having lived in their shoes. To know how events trigger them to think and how they have found solace in the world by finding places to vent and people with similar and shared experiences.

                      It took me one year to get my husband to understand what’s been going with me here. One whole year of dismissals and brushing situations aside and acting like it’s all in my head.

                      I want to be absolutely clear here - what is happening to you is real. It's not in your head. I have witnessed and seen the exact thing you are going through. I'm obviously not living your experience so it's tough for me to truly understand what you are going through, but at no point did I dismiss the actual damage being done and the hurt and pain you're going through. I am sorry that it has been so tough. No one deserves this.

                      Either try so explain myself and my situation better so that you can understand this isn’t just “people hating on the system” but more hating on me because I represent the system to them.

                      I also want to quickly address this because you bring up a very good point. It's not always just people hating on the system. When we're talking about an aggregate of people, it's impossible to lump intentions together in a cohesive manner. Some people absolutely are lashing out at people because they 'represent the system to them'. Others will attack under the guise of attacking a system because they want some measure of control over their lives and this is one of the ways they can do it. Others simply want to see others in pain and have found this as their outlet. At no point in what I was saying did I mean to imply that you could not be experiencing people being directly mean to you. In fact, it's very possible that the entire group of individuals you are interacting with are spiteful and upset and trying to inflict pain on you because they simply want to.

                      I simply chose to navigate a middle ground of explanation on a population level to help describe strategies that minorities often use in order to cope with the inhumane behavior they experience firsthand on account of their identity. To be clear, this explanation wasn't directed specifically at you, either. We're on a public forum, in a thread about minorities, and I'm doing my best to help explain what I have experienced as a minority and what I've learned from other minorities - but I'm also just another imperfect human. I clearly did a poor job explaining myself, which is why I am here apologizing.

                      If you took the time to read this, I want to thank you for putting up with my bullshit. I can, at times, be unaware of how badly the internet and the world has brainwashed me into thinking and acting in a specific way and I hope this serves as proof that I'm not trying to diminish you as a person, write off what you've experienced, or inflict harm on you in any way. Your voice around here is important to me and I appreciate that you were willing to honestly express it in frustration at my faults.

                      3 votes
            2. [6]
              culturedleftfoot
              Link Parent
              I feel your pain. The whole "fuck you, white people" sentiment that's been in the zeitgeist for the past five years or so doesn't sit well with me. IMO most of it is largely unproductive virtue...

              I feel your pain. The whole "fuck you, white people" sentiment that's been in the zeitgeist for the past five years or so doesn't sit well with me. IMO most of it is largely unproductive virtue signaling co-opted by the same kind of wannabe allies that frostycakes mention, that are woke as long as they aren't inconvenienced. It's a cheap out the mainstream is using to avoid real work and understanding.

              HOWEVER

              I strongly encourage you to ask, and keep asking, "Why?" Ask your husband, ask his (your) family and friends, ask the neighbors, and ask yourself. Relentlessly. And every time you do, listen. You have entered a community that you will only benefit from making the effort to understand. The sense of perspective you will gain will affect your relationships with them all, and you'll be a lot more likely to gain their empathy.

              I am not saying it's easy, but it is worthwhile.

              4 votes
              1. [5]
                Littlemushka
                Link Parent
                Oh believe me, I’m not ignorant to why they feel the way they do. There is a real reason behind it. There is massive wealth inequality around here, and the richer the area the whiter it seems to...

                Oh believe me, I’m not ignorant to why they feel the way they do.

                There is a real reason behind it. There is massive wealth inequality around here, and the richer the area the whiter it seems to be. And with that wealth there is ignorance for sure.

                I’m not sure that I like that the assumption is that I have not been listening.

                8 votes
                1. [4]
                  culturedleftfoot
                  Link Parent
                  I didn't assume either way whether you were listening, but I did figure that you likely don't understand it. If you keep listening, you can understand; if you understand, it probably won't hurt...

                  I didn't assume either way whether you were listening, but I did figure that you likely don't understand it. If you keep listening, you can understand; if you understand, it probably won't hurt the way you describe. I'm not talking about merely knowing intellectually here, I'm talking about understanding and accepting without/despite ego.

                  The assumption I am making is that you're a reasonable person aspiring to the golden rule. If so, I think your discomfort here is good and I encourage you to keep going. If not, nothing above applies or matters.

                  1 vote
                  1. [3]
                    Littlemushka
                    Link Parent
                    I am listening and I do understand and it still hurts. It hurts with the added fact that I’m not afforded the same understanding that I’m trying to give out, which hurts more.

                    I am listening and I do understand and it still hurts.

                    It hurts with the added fact that I’m not afforded the same understanding that I’m trying to give out, which hurts more.

                    6 votes
                    1. [2]
                      culturedleftfoot
                      Link Parent
                      It sounds like you are exactly where I originally thought. I cannot say this enough - keep going. It's a necessary part of the story.

                      It sounds like you are exactly where I originally thought.

                      I cannot say this enough - keep going. It's a necessary part of the story.

                      1 vote
                      1. Littlemushka
                        Link Parent
                        You literally only know what I’ve mentioned about my situation, nothing more or less and I don’t really appreciate assumptions about my life.

                        You literally only know what I’ve mentioned about my situation, nothing more or less and I don’t really appreciate assumptions about my life.

                        5 votes
  14. [3]
    Gaywallet
    (edited )
    Link
    While discussing the wording of this thread and my thoughts in general, someone linked this article that I think is a great tangential read about communities and enforcement. If you have a chance,...

    While discussing the wording of this thread and my thoughts in general, someone linked this article that I think is a great tangential read about communities and enforcement. If you have a chance, I'd highly suggest giving it a read.

    13 votes
    1. [2]
      cfabbro
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Pretty sure that was me, if you're referring to the discussion in Discord a few days ago. It's honestly one of the best blog posts about online communities and social media that I have ever read....

      someone linked this article

      Pretty sure that was me, if you're referring to the discussion in Discord a few days ago. It's honestly one of the best blog posts about online communities and social media that I have ever read. And the part that really stands out to me, and I think is worth highlighting, is the next paragraph after the one you linked:

      Evaporative cooling

      There are some nice people in the world. I mean nice people, the sort I couldn’t describe myself as. People who are friends with everyone, who are somehow never involved in any argument, who seem content to spend their time drawing pictures of bumblebees on flowers that make everyone happy.

      Those people are great to have around. You want to hold onto them as much as you can.

      But people only have so much tolerance for jerkiness, and really nice people often have less tolerance than the rest of us.

      The trouble with not ejecting a jerk — whether their shenanigans are deliberate or incidental — is that you allow the average jerkiness of the community to rise slightly. The higher it goes, the more likely it is that those really nice people will come around less often, or stop coming around at all. That, in turn, makes the average jerkiness rise even more, which teaches the original jerk that their behavior is acceptable and makes your community more appealing to other jerks. Meanwhile, more people at the nice end of the scale are drifting away.

      And this goes for a community of any size, though it may take more jerks to significantly affect a very large platform.

      It’s still hard to give someone the boot, though, because it just feels like a really harsh thing to do to someone, especially for an abstract reason like “preserving the feel of the community”. And a jerk is more likely to make a fuss about being made to leave, which makes it feel like a huge issue — whereas nice people generally leave very quietly, and you may not even notice until several of them have been gone for a while.

      And to be clear, I have definitely been a terrible jerk at times here on Tildes too, and have no doubt caused some of those super nice people, who don't/can't tolerate that sort of behaviour, to leave the site as a result... which I am truly, honestly, and deeply ashamed of. But I am genuinely trying to be better, and I hope that in future I can keep that in mind, and be more welcoming from now on. :(

      p.s. Thanks for having the courage and compassion to create this topic, @Gaywallet.

      18 votes
      1. Gaywallet
        Link Parent
        Yes, it was you. I wasn't sure whether I should attribute it to you or not because I forgot to ask before it occurred to me! For what it's worth I've also done this. I think the best we can do is...

        Yes, it was you. I wasn't sure whether I should attribute it to you or not because I forgot to ask before it occurred to me!

        And to be clear, I have definitely been a terrible jerk at times here on Tildes too, and have no doubt caused some of those super nice people, who don't/can't tolerate that sort of behaviour, to leave the site as a result... which I am truly, honestly, and deeply ashamed of.

        For what it's worth I've also done this. I think the best we can do is to shame ourselves into changing for the better and trying to make a more welcoming environment in the future. 😄

        10 votes
  15. [8]
    psi
    Link
    (Full disclosure: let me preface my comment by saying that I don't identify with any minority group, but I do find the lack of representation frustrating.) I think this is the crux issue, so I'm...

    (Full disclosure: let me preface my comment by saying that I don't identify with any minority group, but I do find the lack of representation frustrating.)

    What I knew, but didn't truly understand is that if 1 in 100 users have problematic behavior and 1 in 100 users are transgender, we have an equal number of transgender individuals as we do users with problematic behavior. I want you to stop here and reread the last sentence and really absorb it before moving on. Ask yourself what problems might arise by these inequality existing.

    I think this is the crux issue, so I'm glad you reiterated it. But I think the situation is actually worse than presented: yes, we have a crappy signal-to-noise ratio, but the noise isn't just the problematic users -- to a large extent, it's also the 98% of users who don't have relevant lived experience.

    I think it's fair to say this forum has a rationalist-leaning philosophy (in the Slate Star Codex sense), hence its willingness to engage in good-faith arguments defending controversial opinions (the ~1% of problematic users not engaging in good faith generally get censored eventually). But as noted elsewhere in this thread, those with relevant lived experience aren't interested in rehashing a sophomoric Devil's argument for the upteenth time (for instance, I would imagine -- again, not a PoC -- its infinitely easier to have a dispassionate discussion about racism when you've never been victimized by it).

    I believe that what we're facing here is a crisis of identity: do we want to be a left-leaning rationalist community, or do we want to be a more welcoming one? Ultimately I don't think these ideals are compatible. Personally, I'd like to see us become more welcoming even if that means shedding some of our rationalist tendencies.

    13 votes
    1. lonjil
      Link Parent
      Rationality is a nice thing, but I think "rationalists" tends to not actually be very good at those things they espouse. The SSC somewhat infamously was more willing to engage with nazis than with...

      Rationality is a nice thing, but I think "rationalists" tends to not actually be very good at those things they espouse. The SSC somewhat infamously was more willing to engage with nazis than with so-called SJWs.

      Being capable of dispassionate, "high decoupling" discussion is certainly useful, but in practice people will only do it sometimes, influenced by their subconscious biases. What is needed is understanding in which situations decoupling/dispassion is useful, and in which situations it is harmful. If you don't apply that lens, which situation gets which treatment becomes happenstance, potentially not very good happenstance.

      14 votes
    2. [6]
      skybrian
      Link Parent
      I'm not sure there's anyone here that would be considered rationalist-leaning, other than me? (And I'm more like a fellow traveller; I've never met any of them in person.) Maybe I talk too much.

      I'm not sure there's anyone here that would be considered rationalist-leaning, other than me? (And I'm more like a fellow traveller; I've never met any of them in person.)

      Maybe I talk too much.

      6 votes
      1. [3]
        Cycloneblaze
        Link Parent
        I feel like the thread on the SSC article had a few people who professed to reading the blog. I'd count them as rationalists, I think the group is not exclusive, or rationalist-leaning if you...

        I feel like the thread on the SSC article had a few people who professed to reading the blog. I'd count them as rationalists, I think the group is not exclusive, or rationalist-leaning if you prefer. Go from there with the 1/9/90 rule.

        10 votes
        1. [2]
          psi
          Link Parent
          I think that's a better example than mine. For reference, the SSC post had more engagement (67 comments) than any post on this site in the past week (other than this one).

          I think that's a better example than mine. For reference, the SSC post had more engagement (67 comments) than any post on this site in the past week (other than this one).

          5 votes
          1. skybrian
            Link Parent
            I think it's because it's controversial. For what it's worth, I really hated participating in that conversation, but felt I had to say something due to so many people dragging the guy's name in...

            I think it's because it's controversial. For what it's worth, I really hated participating in that conversation, but felt I had to say something due to so many people dragging the guy's name in the mud, and by extension anyone who reads it. (But no, I don't want to revive it.)

            7 votes
      2. Kuromantis
        Link Parent
        I don't think there's overt support for rationalism, but @kfwyre pointed out tat people value being logic-oriented instead of emotional here to make the point that he thinks this doesn't make...

        I don't think there's overt support for rationalism, but @kfwyre pointed out tat people value being logic-oriented instead of emotional here to make the point that he thinks this doesn't make sense for things like language and we should consider people's feelings when it comes to language, which is what I think @psi is getting at. Rationalism as a concept will probably always be appealing outside of it's community by virtue of wanting to be based on reason.

        8 votes
      3. psi
        Link Parent
        My comment wasn't an indictment of you, and I certainly don't want you to get the impression that I was talking about you specifically. I consider myself somewhat rationalist-leaning even though...

        My comment wasn't an indictment of you, and I certainly don't want you to get the impression that I was talking about you specifically. I consider myself somewhat rationalist-leaning even though I've spent basically no time on SSC or LW. I don't want to get into particulars (though generally, see this thread [1]), but rationalist discourse is pervasive throughout these forums, even if the users of such rhetoric might not self-identify as rationalists.


        (I'm of two minds about this particular thread: on the one hand, I think this is a thought-provoking discussion. And in that sense, we're early participants in what could eventually become a culture war issue, but we're fortunate to be able to engage in the topic before its been colored by politics. On the other hand, the issue is not academic for some people, and treating the issue as such could cause those people to feel further marginalized/unwelcome.)

        5 votes
  16. oryx
    Link
    I just wanted to say thank you for posting this topic. This was a very informative read. I have been on the site for a few years now. I took an extended break for reasons I don't even remember,...

    I just wanted to say thank you for posting this topic. This was a very informative read. I have been on the site for a few years now. I took an extended break for reasons I don't even remember, but started visiting again recently.

    I find myself often just lurking sites I frequent and never really engaging in the discussions myself. Tildes has a pretty great community in comparison to many of the other spaces I visit but that doesn't mean there isn't room for improvement. Even just reading through these comment threads the discussions that are happening are well spoken and thought out. Thanks. <3

    13 votes
  17. [3]
    Whom
    (edited )
    Link
    Thanks for making this post, I feel the same and you did a hell of a lot better job than I could. I think this goes hand in hand with the issues brought up in that article that I can't seem to...

    Thanks for making this post, I feel the same and you did a hell of a lot better job than I could.

    I think this goes hand in hand with the issues brought up in that article that I can't seem to find that used to be shared a lot in the first year or so about how if internet communities aren't careful, over time they'll lose the absolute sweethearts they've attracted and it becomes very difficult to go back. I think we're frustratingly far down that path already and, as you say, it's hurting the bit of diversity that we do have. I believe the majority of people here are well-intentioned, but clearly that hasn't been enough.

    12 votes
  18. [4]
    vektor
    Link
    Another thought I've had before that might be relevant here: Maybe it's possible to structure discussions around controversial topics in such a way as to make the volume of an opinion less of a...

    Another thought I've had before that might be relevant here: Maybe it's possible to structure discussions around controversial topics in such a way as to make the volume of an opinion less of a factor. This would probably require substantial manual effort from the participant, or help from the site to make it easier, but the idea is that any one point need only be argued once in a thread, every argument need only be made once. I'm kind of envisioning a tree of messages, not unlike the current structure. But every message needs to be somewhat atomic, in that it either proves or disproves a singular statement. If that statement rests upon assumptions, these assumptions will have to be debated in the subtrees (replies), one reply/subtree each. If a subtree covers the same topic as another subtree elsewhere in the thread, they'd be merged into one and a crossreference put in its place.

    The result is not a discussion, but more the collaborative writing of an interactive essay. I can descend into the tree, take for granted the subtrees I agree with, identify where I diverge from the argument, and then either add to the essay points that have not been considered publicly, or I can convince myself of the faultiness of my own assumptions.

    Why that belongs here? Because the problem I perceive with the discussions OP talked about is that the volume makes the discussion hard to contend with. In my model, if you can convincingly argue a point, but don't want to do it twice, you don't need to. Additionally, the collaborative part means that anyone can temper the voice of a particularly antagonistic person, such that the discussion essay stays relatively dispassionate.

    12 votes
    1. [3]
      reifyresonance
      Link Parent
      I rarely go to a website with the intention to argue. Doing so rarely feels like it was worth my time. Structuring the whole site as an argument forest would, I think, be detrimental to...

      I rarely go to a website with the intention to argue. Doing so rarely feels like it was worth my time. Structuring the whole site as an argument forest would, I think, be detrimental to communication. I don't think this particular thread, for example, would fit that model well. There was a website that tried something similar, the goal was to enumerate every argument, every counter-argument, etc. I don't remember the name, maybe someone else does.

      I agree with the idea about reducing volume - but I do not think this is the way to do it. It might be an interesting thread type for some types of discussion (there's a fun idea - different ways to structure communication, decided on a per-thread basis) but not as a site default.

      10 votes
      1. Deimos
        Link Parent
        The site you're thinking of is probably Kialo: https://www.kialo.com/tour Mention for @vektor to make sure you see this so you can check it out, since I think it's very similar to the idea you...

        The site you're thinking of is probably Kialo: https://www.kialo.com/tour

        Mention for @vektor to make sure you see this so you can check it out, since I think it's very similar to the idea you were describing.

        6 votes
      2. vektor
        Link Parent
        Oh, I completely agree it's not for every discussion. The forest idea is for those particularly antagonistic and chaotic topics only. It's also not compatible with most people's relatively casual...

        Oh, I completely agree it's not for every discussion. The forest idea is for those particularly antagonistic and chaotic topics only. It's also not compatible with most people's relatively casual style.

        I think the most important takeaway from kialo is the collaborative aspect. That reduces animosity a lot. I think it could be beneficial if trusted users could edit comments to take the edge off. If we could edit comments for clarity, redundancy, brevity. Of course only on a per thread basis. I'd love to see how that would work, if everyone could edit anything.

        I dunno, maybe @Deimos has something like that in the cards for us, with trusted users. I've actually been pondering automated trust, but more in a distributed fashion (think weighing reviews more if they come from a person you tend to agree with).

        4 votes
  19. Cycloneblaze
    Link
    Perhaps a bit off-topic but this portion stood out to me. I've internalised and enforced those kind of rules too, as the proper way to behave on the internet, and looked down on people who didn't...

    As a young child, I also latched on to early internet behavior. People who were pedantic about grammar, who could use logic effectively, and otherwise followed the rules that rich white people before them set up as the 'correct' way to do discuss were revered on the internet. I remember when being the grammar police was behavior that was actually celebrated.

    Perhaps a bit off-topic but this portion stood out to me. I've internalised and enforced those kind of rules too, as the proper way to behave on the internet, and looked down on people who didn't follow them. It's very easy to do, especially when you're young. And yet I never questioned where they came from or why they came about; why are the norms I follow even norms in the first place? Are they actually valuable?

    It reminds me of how the BBC, in Britain, had all of its presenters speak "Received Pronunciation" English, viewing it as the most correct form of English and hoping to improve the standard of pronunciation and literacy across the country via broadcast radio and television. When really, many of the people who listened heard it for what it was: the voice of the privileged. I believe they ditched that in recent times for exactly this reason.

    The same goes for a lot of these norms of internet debate. Much as those of us who learned to abide by them want to believe, they aren't all that beneficial, and they weren't formed out of logic themselves. They're just how the invariably wealthy, white, male people who got access to the internet first preferred to talk. Especially if you're white and male and relatively wealthy as well, that's hard to see. I'm glad you pointed it out, Gaywallet.

    We, and I say this as a member of almost all the majority demographics on Tildes, should remember that there are more important things than being right - than making sure that everyone else is corrected. I think a lot of people believe or like to believe that a space like Tildes is equally welcoming to all and that its norms are objective, and are seen the same by everybody, so there's no need to adapt to minorities. But, as others here have said, minorities (on Tildes and elsewhere) know what they're looking at when they come into a thread full of analytic arguments, and it's not encouraging to them.

    But anyway! Thanks for making this post and putting this point into such good words.

    11 votes
  20. tempestoftruth
    Link
    I'm saddened by the conditions that have forced some members of our community to leave for their own sake. In my experience, these people have been positive contributions to discussion, and that...

    I'm saddened by the conditions that have forced some members of our community to leave for their own sake. In my experience, these people have been positive contributions to discussion, and that leaves us with the responsibility to make changes so as to better serve them and their needs.

    Some have already mentioned challenges on the level of individual attitudes, e.g. users who may not share the same values as others, or users who play devil's advocate in threads where the topic being discussed isn't one where disagreement can simply be tolerated1 (e.g. inclusive language, as in the case of the ableist language thread). I want to say I have also felt frustrated on these occasions. Often when I don't air out these thoughts, it is easy for me to end up thinking that I am making it all up, so I want to go beyond just voting on these comments and let those who have shared these feelings know that you aren't alone in that experience here on Tildes.

    These differences aren't necessarily irreconcilable, but folks of minority identities on Tildes (or most other places) aren't looking to litigate this constantly and just want a place to chill with nice people on the internet, so I agree that structural changes to the way in which the site is organized is probably the best resolution. If we want people to stay on Tildes and acknowledge that we probably aren't going to change each other's opinions on controversial issues, then we probably just need to avoid Tildes-wide conversations on said controversial issues, even the ones that some of us think shouldn't be controversial (e.g. inclusive language). Many suggestions have already been made, I'm looking forward to a thread soon where we can discuss these ideas more in detail.

    1 Short aside, but even in threads where the topic being discussed isn't fundamental to someone's self-image or self-worth, playing devil's advocate isn't a great way to generate constructive conversation either. Consider that in some cases unhelpful discussion is worse than no discussion, and if you aren't adding anything besides challenging someone's opinion just to make conversation, it may be best to move on from that post (or even mark it ignored so you aren't tempted).

    11 votes
  21. [4]
    vektor
    Link
    I'll keep this short: The stats you brought up from the census, those seem rather good to me. 33% non-heterosexual, 50% non-white? For a site that is basically a reddit-offshoot, that seems pretty...

    I'll keep this short: The stats you brought up from the census, those seem rather good to me. 33% non-heterosexual, 50% non-white? For a site that is basically a reddit-offshoot, that seems pretty good. Now, of course it's tragic when people feel forced out of here because of their innate characteristics. But frankly? Those numbers might indicate that we're also quite inviting to minorities. (I know way more than half the earth is colored. But try and find a non-majority-white mainstream english speaking forum online. I'll wait.)

    I shouldn't have to say this, but of course I don't think we should ignore the rest of the discussion here, or ignore the problem raised by gaywallet. More, what I want to say is maybe it's also worthwhile to think about what we're doing right instead of what we're doing wrong. I'd say this looks like we're turning away the intolerant at a higher rate than those in need of tolerance.

    All of that rests of course partly on the assumption that only 66% hetero is somewhat impressive.

    11 votes
    1. mftrhu
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Initially, sure. For a while, even, but how many of them are hanging around after six months, or a year? People who join a Reddit alternative that doesn't strive to be a free speech clone are...
      • Exemplary

      Those numbers might indicate that we're also quite inviting to minorities.

      Initially, sure. For a while, even, but how many of them are hanging around after six months, or a year?

      People who join a Reddit alternative that doesn't strive to be a free speech clone are probably going to expect more from it, and dealing with devils' advocates is exhausting when the local culture really likes long posts and frowns upon "uncivil" behaviour, such that "Fuckin' google it, you lazyass" to the nth rehash of the same argument is unacceptable.

      I'd say this looks like we're turning away the intolerant

      It's not the intolerant the problem. Blatantly bigoted people are dealt with even on Reddit - not on all subreddits, but you learn which to join and which to avoid, and the mod teams tend to be large - and they are not as much of a problem as well-meaning but ignorant people (or those who can disguise their bigotry well). Answering the same questions, even when asked earnestly, can start to grate pretty quickly; dealing with sealions and devils' advocates is far worse.

      I think we should get good at turning away those who learned the rules of engagement from the "rationalist" sphere: things like "ad hominems mean you lose", "long messages good, short messages bad", "source?" spam, and "if you don't want to answer, just go elsewhere". The latter is especially poisonous, coming from people with no skin in the game who can afford to just... ignore what others are saying.

      Things like ephemeral threads - standalone, discussing a single link or post, with mostly different users interacting each time - don't help with that. With a lot of topics, "closed as duplicate: see here" would serve the community far better, both minorities - who won't need to step in and groundhog day the argument - and those who want to learn more than they want to argue.

      Edit: s/(alternative) who/\1 that/

      14 votes
    2. Gaywallet
      Link Parent
      To be clear, I absolutely agree. Tildes is in my mind a fantastic place and we've done a great job at starting it off and pushing it in the right direction. But it's becoming stagnant and we need...

      To be clear, I absolutely agree. Tildes is in my mind a fantastic place and we've done a great job at starting it off and pushing it in the right direction. But it's becoming stagnant and we need some significant change to prevent the minority voice from leaving here altogether. This discussion is meant to point out the problem that's causing this so that we can discuss how to fix it, collaboratively. It's offering a few suggestions on how we can behave to try and fight this, but those are just my opinion and thoughts as to what might work.

      11 votes
    3. Kuromantis
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      I mean, 60 more guys responded to the last census as opposed to one more woman and 7 more nonbinary people so @Gaywallet is not really unjustified in saying this. The rest of your statistics are...

      I mean, 60 more guys responded to the last census as opposed to one more woman and 7 more nonbinary people so @Gaywallet is not really unjustified in saying this. The rest of your statistics are fair game, but I don't think it guarantees these people will speak up when it comes to controversial issues like the example given in this post.

      9 votes
  22. [7]
    Good_Apollo
    Link
    OOTL: Who is being forced out of Tildes? I don’t view every thread but I’ve felt this community has been nothing but pleasant compared to most. Really sad to hear some people aren’t experiencing...

    OOTL: Who is being forced out of Tildes? I don’t view every thread but I’ve felt this community has been nothing but pleasant compared to most. Really sad to hear some people aren’t experiencing it that way.

    10 votes
    1. Micycle_the_Bichael
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Up front: I tend to make use of the 2nd person a lot. I'm trying to get away from it since saying "you" a lot makes things sound very directed at an individual and not the more general 'you the...

      Up front: I tend to make use of the 2nd person a lot. I'm trying to get away from it since saying "you" a lot makes things sound very directed at an individual and not the more general 'you the reader'. If I slip up, please know I'm not trying to directly call you specifically out.

      I don’t view every thread but I’ve felt this community has been nothing but pleasant compared to most.

      Two things I'd take from this that kind of point to it:

      1. Being pleasant compared to most isn't the same as being pleasant. At some point, people don't really care if someone is questioning the validity of their existence in an aggressive, passive, or curious way. The problem is that people require them to defend their existence in the first place. At some point it doesn't matter what tone someone came into the conversation with, its exhausting and disheartening either way. Tildes is certainly better than most of the internet, but just because it isn't (always) actively hostile, that doesn't mean it is great. Removing a negative is definitely good, but it doesn't necessarily make it a positive.

      2. Again, you're right that Tildes is better than most other places. That said, "better than the rest of the mainstream internet" feels like burying the bar 20ft below ground and asking me to hurdle it. I've talked about this before but I still remember the first thread I saw on Tildes of someone leaving. It was some chinese members of Tildes leaving because they felt like they couldn't go into any comment section without someone shitting on their home country, and not drawing a line between China the country and China the people. It is really easy to think things are pleasant when it isn't your rights/existence/experience under the microscope. And to be clear, I'm very guilty of this too.

      14 votes
    2. Gaywallet
      Link Parent
      Minorities. Have you stopped to consider why others might not feel similarly? I believe this thread is a good opener into why or how someone might feel alienated coming into even a mostly civil...

      Who is being forced out of Tildes?

      Minorities.

      I don’t view every thread but I’ve felt this community has been nothing but pleasant compared to most.

      Have you stopped to consider why others might not feel similarly? I believe this thread is a good opener into why or how someone might feel alienated coming into even a mostly civil thread. The example thread of 'what's hard about being a woman' is a good example and many women have chimed in here with their experiences. I would highly recommend reading their comments.

      Really sad to hear some people aren’t experiencing it that way.

      I'm glad you feel this way! If you'd like to encourage it to be a healthier and happier place, reading what people have to say here with a particular focus on the minority voices might help you get a glimpse into how they view Tildes and what they've been seeing.

      11 votes
    3. [4]
      skybrian
      Link Parent
      I noticed that there is one person, who previously posted a lot, who recently deleted their account. I assume we're not saying who because it's not supposed to be about them, but the general pattern.

      I noticed that there is one person, who previously posted a lot, who recently deleted their account. I assume we're not saying who because it's not supposed to be about them, but the general pattern.

      6 votes
      1. [3]
        cfabbro
        Link Parent
        I don't know specifically who gaywallet is referring to... but I do interact with a lot of users behind the scenes (both on Discord and via PM), and know of several women who were once extremely...

        I don't know specifically who gaywallet is referring to... but I do interact with a lot of users behind the scenes (both on Discord and via PM), and know of several women who were once extremely active on the site but are no longer. As for why they left, for one it was due to serious health issues, another social anxiety, and another had a baby, but all had previously voiced concerns about the tone and tenor of the conversations on the site, so that was very likely a factor in their leaving as well. And to my genuine shame, I know for a fact that I had, on several occasions, directly contributed to the negative experiences of at least one of them on the site (since we talked about it via PM)... so. :(

        8 votes
        1. [2]
          kilroy
          Link Parent
          Could you elaborate on what tone and tenor was an issue?

          Could you elaborate on what tone and tenor was an issue?

          3 votes
          1. cfabbro
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            Mostly just how confrontational so much of the discussion here was, and how unfriendly this place felt overall. Though worth noting is that at the time they made those comments the site was even...

            Mostly just how confrontational so much of the discussion here was, and how unfriendly this place felt overall. Though worth noting is that at the time they made those comments the site was even worse, in terms of the overall tone, than it is now since we were still going through some growing pains, and had a number of incredibly active far-right, confrontational, &/or "controversial" opinion holding users that would often interject themselves into almost every single discussion on the site. But as I said, even I was guilty of contributing several times to one of those female user's negative experiences here too... which is why I genuinely am trying my best to chill out more, and be more welcoming, rather than as confrontational as I used to be.

            5 votes
  23. [5]
    Litmus2336
    Link
    I feel like a lot of left of center places on the internet, unfortunately, have to choose whether they are a leftist space or a liberal space, lest that choice be made for them.

    I feel like a lot of left of center places on the internet, unfortunately, have to choose whether they are a leftist space or a liberal space, lest that choice be made for them.

    6 votes
    1. [3]
      lonjil
      Link Parent
      I don't think that's true. At least I hope not. We really need minority voices not being talked over. In particular, when the topic concerns them, they should be listened to. But minority groups...

      I don't think that's true. At least I hope not. We really need minority voices not being talked over. In particular, when the topic concerns them, they should be listened to. But minority groups have wide ranges of political beliefs, so this does not indicate any particular political stance. I hope not because I and other trans people have a bit of a problem, in that a lot of online forums for trans stuff are full of staunch leftists, and will readily attack any fellow trans people for not being staunch leftists, or even for not being the right kind of leftist. But I also know of places online where this is not the case, with a mixture of political beliefs, and those places are very nice to be in. Those places tend to be good at listening to minority voices and be nuanced about the variety of beliefs members of various minorities have. The "leftist space or a liberal space" thing happens when one particular subgroup of any particular minority talks over every other minority group. With making an effort to listen to minority voices, we can hopefully avoid all of these problems here on Tildes.

      11 votes
      1. [2]
        Litmus2336
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        I hope that's true as well. Edit: I reedited this a few times because I couldn't quite state what I said. I think this all relates back to the overton window. If a person of color were to come...

        I hope that's true as well.

        Edit: I reedited this a few times because I couldn't quite state what I said.

        I think this all relates back to the overton window. If a person of color were to come into a white space and say a bunch of stuff that supported the status quo they would probably get no backlash. Ultimately it's not just minority views that need to be listened too, but those which dissent with the dominant view of that community. Online, overton windows are often quite shifted compared to the major political discourse in whichever country you are a part of.

        4 votes
        1. Litmus2336
          Link Parent
          I bring this up because often times allies assume they know what it's like to be a minority, or they know a lot of minorities of their political background so they speak their friends opinions....

          I bring this up because often times allies assume they know what it's like to be a minority, or they know a lot of minorities of their political background so they speak their friends opinions. But when someone has a non-dominant experience, even if they're actually part of that minority group, it can get quashed.

          7 votes
    2. vegai
      Link Parent
      I always thought tildes to be impartial rather than leftist. Then again, perhaps in today's political atmosphere that's already a leftist stance... "Reality has a liberal bias" started as a joke...

      I always thought tildes to be impartial rather than leftist. Then again, perhaps in today's political atmosphere that's already a leftist stance... "Reality has a liberal bias" started as a joke but I'm not so sure it is anymore.

      3 votes
  24. [2]
    elcuello
    Link
    This is being linked in the digital manipulation subreddit now... https://old.reddit.com/r/Digital_Manipulation/comments/lsnfg9/tildes_a_reddit_alternative_doesnt_understand_why/
    4 votes
    1. Gaywallet
      Link Parent
      lol it got deleted and didn't garner a whole lot of discussion

      lol it got deleted and didn't garner a whole lot of discussion

      4 votes
  25. Removed by admin: 4 comments by 3 users
    Link