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Userbase Growth Challenge #1! How are we seen and what does that mean?

Submitted by Tequila_Wolf in growth (edited )

This is a tentative thought I wanted to introduce for discussion, two weeks after the first post on this forum.

Not only providing original content as well as effort-posts is going to grow the userbase here. We have to have good politics.

That said, I’ll guess the majority of people posting here are probably white guys. White guys typically have a certain set of concerns that maintain the marginalization of people who aren’t white guys and alienate those people from participating.

Arguments about anti-civ or transhumanism, or even things like collectivism vs individualism, are white guy arguments. Aside from the fact that they don’t seem to convince anyone of anything but their original belief, what they do is foreground the fact that we are not actually interested in the liberation of POC, or women, or queers, or the differently-abled, or anyone else who is marginalized.

The concerns reflected in the arguments on this website make all the difference in whether we’ll actually get a solid group of radicals engaging on this website.

Assuming all I’ve said here is the case, what might that mean for the individuals who are already using this site? Especially though of us who like the space and want good things for it?

I think it means we have to change what we are concerned about. I think one thing we could do is to treat this space as one where we really try to seek out our own blind spots and prejudices and put them through hell, so that we can (to some meaningful degree) stand in the position of someone who would currently say, “I don’t want to be a part of what they’re doing” and really understand why, so that we can struggle for them, which, I think, is incidentally the only way we’ll liberate ourselves.

Comments

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hotcool wrote (edited )

Love what you're saying here Tequila_Wolf. One thing each person can do to help shape the community is by simply using the upvote / downvote feature.

For example, I personally downvote any post that is an ad hominem attack (those kind of discussions don't appeal to me). I upvote stories I think will stimulate comments because healthy discussions and lots of comments will likely draw more readers in.

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Defasher wrote

I think we should be conscious to not create a toxic environment like reddit. People don't come here to get attacked.

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sudo wrote

Yes. We should not be attacking people who are asking questions in good faith. But if they're not engaging in good faith, attack away, or ignore, delete, and ban if they're a troll.

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tnstaec wrote

But what if they're a (confused) anarchist troll?

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sudo wrote

Well, now you've confused me as to how one can be confused and a troll at the same time.

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tnstaec wrote

I was referring to Chomskyist. Going to give them the benefit of the doubt that they're actually anarchist, a courtesy they are not likely to extend back to me. But they're still as much a troll as the turds from Voat.

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sudo wrote

From their recent post history, it looks like they're just arguing against primitivists. From quickly skimming their post history, the only thing they said that I disagree with is that humans will eventually be able to upload their minds to a computer. It'd be nice if this could eventually happen, but it may not be possible to do. We'll have to wait and see.

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tnstaec wrote

They're making the same bad faith arguments against primitivism that were debunked 10 years ago.

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tnstaec wrote

As a white guy, this seems like kind of a vicious circle I've seen play out in RL and internet spaces many times. Mostly white and male people don't really know what issues are of interest/ concern to those from other backgrounds -> those things aren't addressed -> demographics stay pretty white-male.

I don't completely buy the 'theory is for white guys' argument, but I see your point. If you're black in America (for example), chances are you're more focused on concrete, day-to-day issues than abstract conceptual issues (compared to someone like me).

But in practical terms you're going to have a hell of a lot harder time finding PoC users to bring over here from Reddit than from Twitter or Tumblr.

Actually, this site had a pretty strong feminist focus early on. What happened?

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Tequila_Wolf wrote

Personally, I think it's a vicious cycle only if people assume that they're doing enough to question their own biases, only if people assume that their desire to talk about specific subjects over others are their own desires rather than desires that are the ones created through capitalist subject-formation.

Undertaking the journey to recreate ourselves outside of the alienating mould that capitalism has provided for us is the hard but straightforward way to overcome this problem, here and irl.

Not that navel-gazing and working on ourselves is necessarily desirable (I think we're likely all lost causes anyway, tbh!), but I think it is desirable insofar as it allows us to be in solidarity with others and so to pave the way for a nicer world.

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ziq wrote (edited )

There are a lot of people here but most of them don't engage unless someone provokes them by attacking their ideology, it's saddening.

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Tequila_Wolf wrote

This may be true (though presumably there are loads of lurkers on most sites like this?), but I don't think it's really engaging with what I'm saying.

Also in all likelihood much of what I'm saying would apply to the lurkers so I'm not sure we solve the problem I've outlined here if they start adding their opinions.

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Chomskyist wrote

But you're essentially suggesting that talking about issues we care about, like transhumanismn will alienate people of color. This seems a little demeaning to them because why would they not appreciate debating the merits of science just because they're not white?

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Tequila_Wolf wrote (edited )

I think it's a matter of emphasis, really, which is what I tried to get across in my use of the word "foreground". I would be more than glad for these conversations to happen, but among other conversations, others which I think are more immediate and pressing concerns; solidarity.

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sudo wrote

If the userbase here is mostly white, then it makes sense that the actual conversations don't happen in threads about issues that only affect PoC. That's not to say that the white people here don't care about those things, but that they don't have anything to add to whatever the article says, besides "I agree." I think if we had more PoC here, that would probably lead to more actual conversations on those posts.

White guys typically have a certain set of concerns that maintain the marginalization of people who aren’t white guys and alienate those people from participating.

Agreed, but I don't think typical white guys would want to participate on this forum. I don't think any of the white guys here want to maintain the marginalization of PoC, and I don't think that transhumanism vs. anti-civ or any of the arguments you mentioned are inherently white arguments. Yes, they are at the foreground right now, but if you want more talk about PoC, the way to achieve that isn't to tell people who want to have discussions to shut it, it's to get more PoC on the site to balance it out. We could try plugging raddle on websites that are about PoC.

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Tequila_Wolf wrote

If the userbase here is mostly white, then it makes sense that the actual conversations don't happen in threads about issues that only affect PoC.

It doesn't make sense that we are not focused on solidarity and engagement.

I don't think typical white guys would want to participate on this forum.

In case it wasn't clear, I'm saying the opposite. I'm trying to suggest that unless core users of this space are fundamentally intent on having good politics (and in particular here this means a politics of solidarity, seeking out and destroying their own racism/sexism/queerphobia/ableism in deep, clear ways), then the space will be alienating for others.

Plugging raddle on other websites might help, but again, I'm trying to suggest that when they get here people need to feel like it can be their space if they are going to stay.

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sudo wrote

It doesn't make sense that we are not focused on solidarity and engagement.

Sure it does, because we all agree with those things. You're not going to have a huge discussion in the comments for something that everyone agrees on. If a cop shoots another black person, there's not much to say besides "How horrible," and "ACAB." But if someone gets into an argument about something they disagree on, then there will be lots of discussion, because multiple people will be trying to prove themselves right about something. We all stand in solidarity with the oppressed people of the world - if you tried to convince us of why we should do so, you'd be preaching to the choir.

I'm trying to suggest that unless core users of this space are fundamentally intent on having good politics (and in particular here this means a politics of solidarity, seeking out and destroying their own racism/sexism/queerphobia/ableism in deep, clear ways), then the space will be alienating for others.

But I already am intent on having good politics. You don't see my trying to rid myself of bigotry, because: 1. I already did that (to the best of my ability) years ago when I learned about feminism, so now it's just a constant state of being on guard, and 2. that's not something people generally broadcast to others when they're doing it. If I made a post here for every time I caught myself thinking something sexist, it'd just be airing my dirty laundry. I don't do that for the same reason I don't take pictures of my lunch and post them on social media - I don't expect other people to care enough about purely personal matters like that.

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Tequila_Wolf wrote

Some brief responses:

because we all agree with those things

No we don't, or we would act differently, and different debates would be in the foreground.

If a cop shoots another black person, there's not much to say besides "How horrible," and "ACAB."

There definitely is much more to say.

You don't see my trying to rid myself of bigotry, because: 1. I already did that

To my best understanding, nobody finishes doing this, this is a completely naive position, and I think your response here clearly belies the fact that you need to do more

that's not something people generally broadcast to others when they're doing it

You don't need to broadcast the process, necessarily. I'm saying we need to express the level of consciousness of these questions in ways that make others feel at home, and part of that means our taking on a serious engagement with them ourselves.

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sudo wrote

No we don't, or we would act differently, and different debates would be in the foreground.

Really? Can you show me where somebody says they don't think PoC are oppressed? Because I've never seen anyone say that on this website, save for the nazi trolls from a few weeks ago.

There definitely is much more to say.

Such as?

To my best understanding, nobody finishes doing this, this is a completely naive position, and I think your response here clearly belies the fact that you need to do more

You cut off the rest of my sentence, where I said I am constantly on guard for bigoted thoughts. I never said I was done, I said the bulk of clearing out the muck was accomplished long ago. Now it's a constant state of upkeep.

You don't need to broadcast the process, necessarily. I'm saying we need to express the level of consciousness of these questions in ways that make others feel at home, and part of that means our taking on a serious engagement with them ourselves.

Could you give an example? That's too vague for me to understand your meaning.