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Unread 07-22-2016, 08:00 PM   #1
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Outrage and the internet

I don't know if any of you are familiar with vlogbrothers. It's a YouTube channel run since 2007ish by John and Hank Green where they chat back and forth with each other about a variety of topics. (This is the same John Green who writes young adult novels including The Fault In Our Stars.) They've built themselves an interesting little YouTube-centered community (who they call Nerdfighters), and because they've tried to foster collaboration and productive conversation within their fanbase, their videos are one of the only places on YouTube where the comments don't make me want to gouge my eyes out with a rusty spoon.

Recently they noticed a problem in YouTube's retooling of the comment prioritization algorithm. Comments that generate a lot of replies get priority in the display over comments that get a lot of likes, which means that controversial and/or problematic comments get bumped up, while good and constructive comments that people like get pushed down. They've been trying to game this system in recent weeks by encouraging people to add replies with just a plus sign to comments they like in order to re-weight the comments, which is what gets discussed near the end of today's video.

Meanwhile, this week, SNL performer Leslie Jones took to Twitter to help promote her (quite funny) role in the new Ghostbusters movie. She was then hit with a ton of odious hate-tweets targeting her for her gender and race. This briefly drove her away until several of the worst instigators, including a somewhat prominent political commentator, had their accounts permanently suspended by Twitter.

I suspect that many of you have also noticed that your Facebook feeds have declined in pleasantness lately. Mine's been especially irritating due to political bickering as the Republican Convention ends and the Democratic Convention gets going next week.

Here on CGR, we had a dude show up this week spewing some fairly alarming viewpoints. He's not a member of this site anymore.

This is Hank Green's video from today, on the issue of outrage and the internet and the duties that these websites owe to their users. I found it thought-provoking and timely. I'd be interested to hear CGR's thoughts on these issues. I'm proud that this is one of the places on the internet where we have been able to foster a pleasant community that has solid conversations.

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Unread 07-22-2016, 08:50 PM   #2
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I'm willing to listen to any viewpoint and even debate it, if you're willing to be cordial. If you refuse to have a meaningful conversation and resort to name calling, I'm done.

I think that owners of sites owe it to the users to try to keep things in check. I also thing that as users of websites, we should be more proactive in policing our own users and also ourselves first and foremost. I think that most people try to make the Internet work, it's a few that don't.
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Unread 07-23-2016, 05:24 AM   #3
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MY FACEBOOK FEED IS FULL OF NOTHING BUT SWEETNESS AND LIGHT AND I WILL UNFRIEND YOU AND BLOCK YOU IF YOU DISAGREE.
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Unread 07-23-2016, 09:27 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by IsaactheSyrian
MY FACEBOOK FEED IS FULL OF NOTHING BUT SWEETNESS AND LIGHT AND I WILL UNFRIEND YOU AND BLOCK YOU IF YOU DISAGREE.
The posts of which this is satire are one reason I hardly ever get on Facebook anymore. When I do and scroll through my feed, I feel my blood pressure start to rise... It's just not worth it.
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Unread 07-23-2016, 11:56 AM   #5
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Unread 07-23-2016, 12:03 PM   #6
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If there's something instinctive or psychological about the human brain that makes us want to share things that outrage us more than anything else, is there anything we can be doing to combat that? I'm asking in the context of both websites in which we are relatively powerless users (i.e. Facebook) and places where we have more say (CGR). Can we correct for this?
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Unread 07-23-2016, 12:13 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by mtlmouth View Post
If there's something instinctive or psychological about the human brain that makes us want to share things that outrage us more than anything else, is there anything we can be doing to combat that? I'm asking in the context of both websites in which we are relatively powerless users (i.e. Facebook) and places where we have more say (CGR). Can we correct for this?
I wish I had an answer.

Due to my position as a pastor, I rarely get involved in that stuff on Facebook or Twitter. I am a little more open up here.

I don't know why people seem to lose their internal censors when dealing with the stuff. It's like they see that "POST" button and lose all of their common sense.
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Unread 08-31-2016, 09:25 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtlmouth View Post
If there's something instinctive or psychological about the human brain that makes us want to share things that outrage us more than anything else, is there anything we can be doing to combat that? I'm asking in the context of both websites in which we are relatively powerless users (i.e. Facebook) and places where we have more say (CGR). Can we correct for this?
I think it likely has roots in instinctive behavior. Perhaps the urge to foster anger in others would benefit one's ability to fight in larger groups against a common foe. Used during the McCarthy era, and it likely goes back to cave people.

Interesting that I heard a statistic that stated if someone was unhappy with a dinner while eating out, they would tell 10 people about he poor service/food, but if they liked the experience, would only tell about 4. Something to ponder.
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Unread 08-31-2016, 09:43 AM   #9
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Yep. It's definitely easier to describe why you disliked something than it is to describe why you liked it.
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