No Tolerance for intolerance
Before I start this post - I'm just going to share a little bit about myself.
I might be relatively new to SteemIt, but I'm certainly not new to online communities. I first started engaging with people online over 20 years ago, when I was a teenager. Back in those days, I use to spend time chatting on mIRC when I should have been doing homework. I met a lot of people back then that I still know until this day - Safe to call them lifelong friends now.
If it wasn't mIRC, it was ICQ, MSN Messnger, then it was various vBulletin Forums (BigFooty.com was the one where I was most prolific). There was a brief period where I used a site called "ClubVibes". Some of you may have heard of it. And then from there, I have been pretty much a regular on reddit for the past 5 years - Actually had my 5th "Cake day" last week.
I'm sure I've missed some sites. That's of course not to mention the obvious ones like Twitter, Facebook.
The point is, I am not new to internet communities. So I think it's safe to say I have seen it all. I have seen some great stuff, and like I said, I've made some great friends. Whilst I didn't meet my wife through the internet, being able to connect a bit on Facebook in the earlier days was no doubt a factor on our relationship evolving the way it did.
For all the great stuff I've experienced, witnessed, read, and seen, there is unfortunately some vulgar shit as well. Every social network, chat service, bulletin board, every service that I've ever used, has the vulgar side. The Dark Side.
I talk mostly of the people that come online and wear their "keyboard warrior" hats (haven't used that term for years). The people that have been emboldened by their anonymity, to spread hateful shit - and the role that online services have played in grouping these hateful cunts together, to the point that they've developed the confidence to start spreading their vile online, to start repulsive political movements, heck, to even elect a nasty hateful, albeit incompetent president.
The motivating factor behind tonight's post was example that I came across on here a few hours ago. I won't link it, because that person doesn't deserve any more air time. But we're talking about a person that is well established on steem, 70+ reputation, 6000+ followers - and a fair bit of SP. I was actually a follower of this person, until tonight that is.
The post in question was utter garbage. I've seen some vile stuff in my years, and on the rare occasion, it comes from a position of education and intelligence mixed with ignorance, bigotry, and illogical hatred. Where actual facts are twisted to present an alternative reality, facts misrepresented to support an agenda. This however, was not quite the case. Some statistics were cited, but they either had nothing to do with the subject matter, or were just plain wrong. A number of "facts" were presented, but most of them were bullshit. It actually would have been quite easy to pick apart this post - line by line - put to bed most of the crap that has been sprouted.
But one thing I have learnt over the years - is that there's no point. No matter how much you ruin somebody's logic, they'll persist in spite of that lack of logic. They'll keep regurgitating their lies, they'll keep up with the irrelevant facts, they'll make up some new statistic, or cite another irrelevant statistic. I've tried it in the past - it's a complete waste of time. You literally cannot make any progress with these people - Bigots will be bigots, and that won't be changed by anybody on an internet forum. As tempting as it is to get involved, i don't bother anymore.
Unfortunately this person had gained exposure to their garbage by purchasing votes - an investment of close to 100SBD. Thankfully, it seems they've been blacklisted by the upvoting service involved - so It's nice to see that some people out there do stand up and condemn hate speech and vilification.
The other unfortunate part is seeing the rest of the upvotes they recieved - some of them from witnesses.
More concerning than that, is the lack of downvotes. A handful of people expressed disagreement in the comments - but only 2 people actually hit that downvote button - and I'll openly admit, that I wasn't one of them.
It is very indicative of one of the problems of Steem. If this exact same post had have been made by somebody with 100SP, reputation 40 - I can safely say that they would have received a lot more negative attention. But such is the fact of the way the platform is set up, doing so against an established member of steem can be detrimental to one's own standing and success on this site. Whilst the common claim is that steem promotes and supports free speech, and does not encourage censorship, it does actually censor the thoughts and emotions of those that don't have the clout to back up those thoughts and emotions.
It is a real problem - I actually found myself briefly wondering if it was only going to get worse - if one day, some time in the near future, As Facebook and Twitter continue their crackdown on hate groups, they might make their way over here, empowered by their potential to profit from their hatred, the lack of censorship. Maybe I'll find myself repulsed by the vile so much that I'd end up just powering down all the SP I've worked for, and signing off Steem and moving onto the next online community.
I'm not quite there, but who knows in future. Maybe once things like Hivemind get implemented, some of the vulgarness can be contained to vulgar "hives"(a bit like what we see on reddit - just switch off r\worldnews and don't need to see any of that crap).
I often ask myself where does this hatred even come from? Often it's from ignorance - sometimes from insecurities in ones own achievements or status, I guess maybe some people are taught to hate from a young age. Taught to judge, and disregard. I don't know - either way it'd be a shit perspective to have in life - to literally disregard large chunks of society, just because they might look different, dress different, or have a different faith. To feel empowered to spread bullshit at the expense of others... Quite sad really..