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    1. From the environmental standpoint shrinking of human population is often quoted to have desirable effects, and that's reasonable. But from the point of view of our daily lives and functioning of...

      From the environmental standpoint shrinking of human population is often quoted to have desirable effects, and that's reasonable. But from the point of view of our daily lives and functioning of the human society, what negatives could we then expect? (I mean a soft decline due to lower birth rates, not some abrupt events.)

      For example, with smaller population fewer music albums could be made every year than some time before, and people would maybe feel less inspired and satisfied. Less scientific research, less choices for relationships... and maybe other things? Would being more technically advanced compensate for the issues? Won't we feel ourselves in oblivion and romanticize the "numerous" past?

      16 votes
    2. Some of you may have heard that Google+ will be shutting down in August, 2019. Though much criticised (including by me), the site offered some compelling dynamics, and I've reflected a lot on...

      Some of you may have heard that Google+ will be shutting down in August, 2019. Though much criticised (including by me), the site offered some compelling dynamics, and I've reflected a lot on those.

      I'm involved in the effort to find new homes for Plussers and Communities, which has become something of an excuse to explore and redefine what "online" and "social" media are ("PlexodusWiki").

      Part of this involves some frankly embarrassing attempts to try to define what social media is, and what its properties are (both topics reflected heavily in the recent-changes section of the wiki above).

      Tildes is ... among the potential target sites (there are a few Plussers, some of whom I really appreciated knowing and hearing from there), here, though the site dynamics make discovering and following them hard. This site is evolving its own culture and dynamics, parts of which I'm becoming aware of.

      I've been online for well over 30 years, and discovered my first online communities via Unix talk, email, FTP, and Usenet, as well as (no kidding) a computerised university library catalogue system. Unsurprisingly: if you provide a way, especially for bright and precocious minds to interact with one another, they will. I've watched several evolutions of Internet and Web, now increasing App-based platforms. There are differences, but also similarities and patterns emerging. Lessons from previous eras of television, radio, telephony, telegraphy, print, writing, oral traditions, and more, can be applied.

      I've got far more questions than answers and thought I'd put a few out here:

      • What does online or social media mean to you? Is it all user-generated content platforms? Web only? Apps? Email or chat? Wikis? GitHub, GitLab, and StackExchange?

      • Is social networking as exemplified by Facebook or Twitter net good or bad? Why? If bad, how might you fix it? Or is it time to simply retreat?

      • What properties or characteristics would you use to specify, define, or distinguish social or online media?

      • What emergent properties -- site dynamics, if you will -- are positive or negative? What are those based on?

      • What are the positive and negative aspects of scale?

      • What risks would you consider in self-hosting either your own or a group's online presence?

      • What is/was the best online community experience you've had? What characterised it? How did it form? How did it fail (if it did)?

      • What elements would comprise your ideal online experience?

      • What would you nuke from orbit, after takeoff, just to be sure?

      • Are you or your group seeking new options or platforms? What process / considerations do you have?

      I could keep going and will regret not adding other questions, but this is a good start. Feel free to suggest other dimensions, though some focus on what I've prompted with would be appreciated.

      19 votes
    3. This post will be discussing the nature of political correctness and its ramifications on our culture, intended to analyze current trends and provide a basis for discussion on a very relevant...

      This post will be discussing the nature of political correctness and its ramifications on our culture, intended to analyze current trends and provide a basis for discussion on a very relevant issue in our society. This is a long post, so buckle up.

      DISCLAIMERS

      Before I begin, I will begin a series of disclaimers, as I’ll be making a lot of claims in this piece, so sorry for the length. For the sake of this post, I will be assuming the role of a neutral character, with no intended leanings towards any political or cultural ideology. Any reference that I make towards a specific side of the spectrum of politics or to social cultures does not reflect my personal opinion on them nor show a bias/prejudice towards that side. I would also like to note that, while I’m trying to make this a quality read about politically correct culture, this isn’t a lecture, a thesis, a Pulitzer article, or even a simple college essay, and is simply very informal essay. A lot of what I say goes off of either whatever comes off the top of my head or things that I find out from a quick search on Google. Some things may or may not be correct, and if they are, please feel free to call me out for it in the comments.

      With that said, let’s get into it: Political correctness. Defined by a Google search as “the avoidance, often considered as taken to extremes, of forms of expression or action that are perceived to exclude, marginalize, or insult groups of people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against.”, has become a powerful influence in the media that people consume as more and more creators, fans, and everything in between try to avoid language or dialect that would offend audiences. Our society progressively has become more and more PC (politically correct) due to an increasing attempt to remove toxic or otherwise harmful material, generally rhetoric like slurs or playing upon stereotypes, from media in an attempt to create a safer, more friendly environment and community, especially for those who often feel targeted by such harsh rhetoric. PC culture is inherently good-willed with an unquestionably noble goal fueling it. However, in the act of making more and more things PC, the media that is affected changes, for better or for worse. In the viewpoint of many, PC culture has become increasingly threatening to the quality of the media they consume, as the element of vulgarity that media possesses sometimes is attributed to their success or favorability. An increase in avoiding content that is in any way threatening to a certain culture has upset many because it dampens the reality of the content, affects its strength, or births new weaknesses. In short, people believe that making things more PC is making them less good.

      The big question of this post is why PC culture matters to the opinions of those who digest media affected by it. It is a question with a myriad of answers, as its influence has been taken in many directions. As iterated before, some claim that it strips away the reality of the content and provides a false reality or delusional perspective; some claim that it softens content too much and dampens the quality; and others think that it is simply stupid to try to be so friendly with what content they make or consume. The element of vulgarity that political incorrectness adds to content makes things more interesting than what they actually are, ironically because they highlight or exaggerate the reality of what they offer, and taking that away from people or reducing it takes away that precious component by avoiding any sort of offensive material. Take SNL, for instance; their skits like Black Jeopardy plays upon Black culture/stereotypes and is widely acclaimed for the hilarity of their vulgarity, but were it to face a demand for more PCness, it would lose a lot of the charm it had because of the necessary avoidance of content that would offend Black culture. The problem with this is that offensive material is not always a great sin that must be purged away. Material that PC culture can see as offensive encompasses a great deal of things, from simple slurs to stereotypes of cultures and societies. While it is good, even preferable, that things such as slurs or directly offensive comments are censored or dismissed, other forms of content seen as offensive are necessary to provide an ounce of harsh reality to the content that is provided. A specific example of such a case would be how the news handled the increase of refugee crimes in Germany and Sweden since those countries took in more Syrian immigrants. PC culture would try to dissolve the correlation as one being the product of another, but non-PC content would assume that the increase in refugees led to that increase. While it is very offensive to assume that the large intake of Syrians has led to that increase, being too PC by dancing around the issue and saying that refugees from other countries relatively contribute the same amount to the violence would be feigning ignorance to a clear and very possible causality, ultimately affecting the quality of the news piece. The same could be said for many other things, like TV shows, blog posts, etc.; When concerning or including potentially controversial content, avoiding the elements that make them controversial or ignoring them takes away from the media’s effectiveness. In other words, being too PC and removing the gritty elements of something can remove the punch that it has and make it seem fake, uninteresting, or any other dissatisfying adjective.

      That’s not to say that offensive material must be in abundance, however; one must never have too much of something, as it may upset the balance of acceptable and unacceptable content. But certain material like social commentary, often in the form of societal stereotypes or portrayals of a culture, is a necessary element to add truth or interest in whatever is being made, albeit it being handled with an utmost delicacy and respect. Saying that the increase in refugee crimes means that all Syrians are criminals, scum of the earth, and a true representation of how shit the Middle East/Islam is would be greatly offensive and also detract from the quality/esteem that that news piece may have. Having the PC to refer to them less offensively, as well as discussing the issue in a manner that doesn’t clearly perpetuate Syrians as the devil, allows for the controversial content to be taken more seriously, basically adding civility to otherwise provoking content. On a gentler note, Black Jeopardy often plays upon the tropes of black culture on relatable, universal grounds, like home culture or the more meaningful discrimination from white people. It doesn’t say that all black people act without genteel to one another or that all white people are evil/stupid, but plays upon familiar stereotypes and experiences shared by many people of both races and enhances their hilarity with their trademark controlled crudity. While this example reflects how PC culture can mitigate offensiveness, it can also bridge gaps between people by portraying them as equals, not separated the nature of their age, sex, race, sexuality, or disabilities. Diversity within a space, such as a profession, a community, or group, is PC culture at its best, for it highlights inclusiveness and unity that political incorrectness would draw borders with. It allows people of any background to pursue the same career choices or interests without discrimination or other forms of inequality, putting forward the message that despite the differences those people may have, they are still human beings, one alike to another, all part of one human society.

      Now that we’ve gone over the merits of both PC and non-PC culture, it’s time to evaluate the consequences that they each have on society. I say consequences because the developments both cultures set precedents for how media controls the amounts of PC put into their content as more and more new media juggles the amounts of friendly content they put in and the vulgar content they take out; and of course, vice versa. Political correctness has shown a powerful trendsetting effect in that once an action is called out for not being PC, it creates a rippling effect where all other forms of media avoid that un-PC element. If you take the Me Too Movement, once sexual harassment claims have been made against one big Hollywood figure, a million more followed in its wake, and now many Hollywood big wigs and US politicians reel in the fear of getting “Me Too’d” and losing their job/getting indicted. While it’s not a real presentation of PC culture at work, the Me Too movement’s rippling effect demonstrates how severe PC culture has influencing society, as now the sexually harassed don’t feel the need to cower behind the fear of denial and claims of insanity that would have been used against them pre-Me Too. And while it’s excellent that sexual harassers are getting what’s coming to them, the crossfire catches many unfortunate victims in the rise of Me Too and its anti-sexual harassment waves. James Gunn is a very relevant example of this, as his history of highly distasteful vulgar Tweets caught up to him and led to his expulsion due to Disney’s attempts to be PC. But Gunn’s expulsion has caused a big issue since he’s not actually a rapist or someone who has harassed his actors, but simply someone who made a couple of extremely stupid jokes, jokes which he had already apologized for 6 years ago. Despite apologizing twice, Gunn is still seen as too much of an un-PC person to work under Disney. This presents the problem of PC culture having too high of a sensitivity for things that they think are absolutely wrong and criminal. Gunn’s actions reflect the rising issue of where any hint of vulgarity in the publicity of an individual can be used against them to tarnish their image, something that has been in prudent effect by the Me Too movement. And while social justice demands that individuals like these who have a history of offenses must be reprimanded, the work that they have created shall suffer in quality after losing an essential component of what made them great. This is not to say that all individuals who have been accused and punished don’t deserve their fate, but merely a claim of consequence.

      Sensitivity is the name of the game in today’s culture. People are becoming increasingly sensitive over things that present even a hint of harm towards an individual or group, attacking that thing like vultures in order to dispel the negativity whatever comment or element that object has to enforce a positive atmosphere. This particular trend is something associated with social justice warriors, or SJWs for short, which has become something of an internet slur because of the reputation that they carry of being agents of anti-vulgarity. They have become such an issue to many people because they are being claimed to attack the right to free speech that individuals carry, becoming a nuisance to many who now have to watch what they say with extreme delicacy, lest they become swarmed by attacks by those who denounce them for their profane statements. But their actions aren’t inherently bad, they’re just people trying to create a safer environment for people who frequently find themselves harassed by the world around them. It’s simply that they exaggerate their efforts to such a point that their actions carry a negative connotation with them. They even fight fire with fire, attacking individuals and harassing them to get them to stop their offensive comments through brute force. But when you fight fire with fire, it just spreads, and those who are attacked by SJWs and see them as a threat to their experiences will double their anti-PC nature to combat these SJWs, creating a loop of toxicity as both sides wage a war to maintain their ideal community. This is unfortunately the great conundrum of PC vs anti-PC: Two sides fighting for absolutes that can never be achieved. SJWs and advocates for absolute PC environments will never achieve it because there will always be people who want to speak their mind about people and things that others will find offensive, and anyone can get offended by anything. A truly PC environment would have to restrict all forms of communication, otherwise someone will eventually get offended and upset the “harmony” the absolute PC achieves. On the other side of the spectrum, an environment without any form of PC will find itself quarreling with each other all the time as people will lack the restraint to say offensive things and therefore find themselves at ends with whatever group their speech or actions offend. An environment without PC is an environment without rules, and an absence of rules will result in chaos.

      Now the question to this is: Where’s the sweet spot? If too much PC and too little are both bad, is the medium the best? In truth, I don’t really think any balance of PC and anti-PC will ever be truly perfect. There will always be advocates for both sides fighting to increase the influence of whatever they fight for, and the balance will always tip to one side or the other. Fortunately for the human race, we have the ability to exercise a lack of care. The reality of this feud is that there will always be something you don’t like, and nothing you or people like you can do will change that fact. You can call out as many sexual predators, societal offenders, and all other forms of anti-PC individuals all you want, but you won’t stop people from doing it. You can label SJWs as thin-skinned and juvenile all you want, but you’ll only be feeding the fire. The only happy solution to this issue is to simply accept the reality that you can’t create a perfect world for yourself by changing everyone else. You can keep fighting the battles and win as many as you’d like, but you’ll never win the war. If you’re someone who wants the absolutes, you’ll never get it. The only semblance of peace you’ll get is accepting there will always be bad.

      PC and anti-PC cultures both possess a merit to them valuable to our society: PC culture imposes civility and friendliness to all people, especially those who are frequently discriminated or treated unfairly, ensuring they feel safe, happy, and equal to their fellows; anti-PC culture, however, advocates for the freedom to say what needs to be said, and while it is vulgar, it is real, and reality must be embraced. People may always fight with each other for each side as they get increasingly sensitive, and sometimes even do something that turns the tides for them, but they will never truly defeat one or the other. The balance between them is always shifting and will never really settle, but the beauty of this war is that it teaches us about people, about their experiences and their beliefs, and help us come to terms with reality. Whether we want to change that reality for the better or champion its present merits, it is, and always will be, up to us.

      Thanks for reading. Feel free to discuss, criticize, compliment, etc. in the comments.

      16 votes
    4. I've been feeling kinda sad lately, I finished up school and have a great job but ultimately feel kinda like I have no purpose in life. I went to a concert where I listened to a bunch of fantastic...

      I've been feeling kinda sad lately, I finished up school and have a great job but ultimately feel kinda like I have no purpose in life. I went to a concert where I listened to a bunch of fantastic goth bands discussing resistance, and nonconformity, and I feel like as a white, straight, male, social democrat I don't really do anything to change better the world like they do, other than occasionally donating to charity. I still can't bring myself to think that revolution is the answer (as many of my friends do), so how do fellow capitalists make themselves feel like they're working for the good of all people? Is what I'm feeling just modern day despondency?

      13 votes
    5. This comes from an article in Current Affairs, which to be upfront is an openly leftist publication. I thought it was an interesting anecdote, especially with the news from a few weeks ago about...

      This comes from an article in Current Affairs, which to be upfront is an openly leftist publication. I thought it was an interesting anecdote, especially with the news from a few weeks ago about the woman in Boston begging for people not to call an ambulance for her because she wouldn't be able to afford it (which is also mentioned in the article).

      I was in a New York City diner two nights ago and something disturbing happened. It was about 2am, and a woman was sitting alone in the next booth. She was disheveled and possibly homeless, and looked unwell. She had been eating a plate of food, but then sprawled herself along the seat and fell asleep. Someone in the restaurant must have called 911, because an ambulance showed up. They parked directly in front of the entrance and left the flashing lights on, and through the large windows the lights filled the restaurant and were overwhelmingly dazzling. The two paramedics approached the woman and told her to sit up. She mumbled a refusal. They insisted. As she finally sat up, bleary, they told her she would need to leave with them and that she should pay her bill. She replied that she had no money. The paramedics became upset, one of them asking her why she would order food if she couldn’t pay for it, and telling her she’d need to pay before they left. While the paramedics stood issuing her instructions as she muttered and fumbled, a young man at the front of the restaurant quietly approached a server and paid her bill. He then told the paramedics he had paid for her. They looked vaguely annoyed, and told her she should be grateful that a stranger just paid for her. The woman did not seem to comprehend, and just made a noise. Then the paramedics took her out to the ambulance. In the hour or so I stayed in the restaurant, the ambulance didn’t leave, and kept its lights on.

      Here’s why I was disturbed: the paramedics did not act like health professionals. They acted like cops. At first, I thought they were cops. Their uniform was similar, and the dazzling flashing lights were like police lights, and had the same bewildering effect. They were more concerned with whether the woman had paid her debts than whether she was okay. They had very clear contempt for her, treating her as a nuisance who was bothering restaurant patrons and needed to be removed. She wasn’t actually bothering anyone, of course; I was sitting in the next booth and had barely noticed her, and there were plenty of spare booths in the diner. But the paramedics were aggressive and unsympathetic in the way that many cops are. Incidents like the one I saw must happen constantly all across the country: homeless people and drug addicts (I don’t know whether the woman was intoxicated or on drugs, though it seemed somewhat likely) not being cared for with compassion, but being “policed” even by those who are supposed to be selflessly devoted to the improvement of health. The flashing lights were totally unnecessary, and made the whole diner feel like a police raid. And, of course, how typical of America that the issue of whether you can pay the bill is more important than whether you will live or die.

      What do you think of this? If you've had an experience with emergency medical services, how did it compare?

      11 votes
    6. Before we get started, PLEASE, no political agenda harping, shit posting, trolling, etc. This is something that is on a sharp increase right now in the Bay Area and I'm genuinely wanting to hear...

      Before we get started, PLEASE, no political agenda harping, shit posting, trolling, etc. This is something that is on a sharp increase right now in the Bay Area and I'm genuinely wanting to hear other people's thoughts and opinions on this.

      The homeless camps have officially reached an out of control level. There is no denying this. Trash and used hypodermic needles litter the streets. Drug use and sales is seen on street corners near the camps. I personally have seen residents of the camps painting graffiti in broad day light. There are unsafe cooking set ups causing explosions and fires putting residents at risk and leaving charred remains for weeks at a time. Cite: https://evilleeye.com/news-commentary/public-safety/explosion-home-depot-homeless-encampment-rattles-emeryville-west-oakland-neighbors/

      What is going on here? How come cities are not cleaning this stuff up? I realize that if the city did conduct some massive eviction/clean up, the residents would just move somewhere else. But what about the trash? Can't that be cleaned up? In many places, I've seen it up to the ankles of people walking around in the camps.

      I truly don't know what the non-camp residents are suppose to do? Do we just turn a blind eye and let the trash pile up? Or do we demand action to keep our streets clean and safe?

      16 votes
    7. My friend and I were talking the other day about how for a perfect society to exist, surely every person within that society must also be perfect, which lead us to discussing what defines a...

      My friend and I were talking the other day about how for a perfect society to exist, surely every person within that society must also be perfect, which lead us to discussing what defines a perfect human.

      Clearly we live in a imperfect world and therefore it can never be accomplished, but we realised there are multiple ways in which a perfect human could be defined. This included such parameters such as emotional stability, morally perfect, physically perfect (whether or not this is even possible) and a whole array of other parameters that have escaped my memory.

      What do you think defines the perfect human, assuming it's even possible in the first place? Should it just be defined by one parameter or a mix, and would some parameters be valued higher over others? For example, is a perfect moral compass more valued over physical perfection? I would love to hear your guys take on the question.

      EDIT: By perfect I mean functioning within a society perfectly.

      2 votes
    8. Many occupations are set to be automated in the near future: truck(lorry) driving, cashiers, and various other service sector jobs. See the full paper here[PDF]. Will such a reallocation of labour...

      Many occupations are set to be automated in the near future: truck(lorry) driving, cashiers, and various other service sector jobs. See the full paper here[PDF].

      Will such a reallocation of labour be a net positive or net negative?

      Will societies around the world adapt by offering ways to retrain those that lost their jobs, or by providing temporary assistance in some manner?

      Or, perhaps, will those people who lose when the next automation wave comes just be ignored, as they would negatively affect the capitalists bottom line.

      26 votes
    9. I think automation is coming quick and fast and think that a landmark event will be when food can be farmed, packaged, shipped and sold without requiring any humans to be involved. I see the...

      I think automation is coming quick and fast and think that a landmark event will be when food can be farmed, packaged, shipped and sold without requiring any humans to be involved. I see the foundations in place already with Amazon Go and autonomous vehicles and it doesn't seem like too much longer before this kind of automation could be possible in my mind.

      Anybody want to weigh in with thoughts/discussion? What effects might it bring? Will it lead to a sort of monopoly as the food could be sold so much cheaper? When might this scale of automation be plausible? Anything really, just looking to spark some discussion :)

      5 votes