squirrels

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squirrels wrote

There's a lot to unpack from this. This is case-in-point about why capitalism is terrible for science and academia. There are many, many Amy Cuddys out there (sexism as why she was singled out surely factors in - again, a lot to unpack). Academia emphasizes to its students and postdocs to communicate their work, sell it to the masses, be enthusiastic, and don't point out flaws. The emphasis on the celebrity individual scientist perpetuates myths about how science works. The result is this crap. A single study was marketed via TED as a self-help cure. Social psych has had an appropriate backlash against their methodological crisis, and they chose a lamb for the slaughter to distract from the fact that the academic system itself is at fault.

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squirrels wrote

Agreed. They'll happily exploit fear-mongering over 4chan & 8chan, but reddit barely gets a mention here or there. I think it's also harder for them to stir up fear or to pin it down for what it is, because there are subs for everything. People will just point to the happy, fluffy subs and the company itself will exploit the image that the company crafted back in the Aaron Swartz days of being the cool, new, progressive internet "community," while entirely missing that the fascist subs are among the most active.

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squirrels wrote (edited )

For years I never checked replies on Reddit, because I was tired of being overwhelmed by the misogyny. I wasn't even posting anything radical for the vast majority of my use, and the backlash for merely admitting that you're a woman in some subs would just plaster you with messages. It was tiring. Explaining the toxicity of relationship subs would be a whole long post, too. (I point those out specifically, because it's where a massive amount of toxic gender roles are perpetuated on the site.) Reddit is full of perpetuating racist myths, misogyny, and pseudoscience. Then when I started correcting bullshit, I would cycle through accounts to avoid doxxing attempts. It was exhausting.

Basically, being a woman (or queer, or trans, or black, or [insert anyone not a cis white male engineer in his 20s from Silicon Valley]) on Reddit is psychologically horrendous over time.

What finally killed it for good for me, though, is the effect of Reddit marketing on opinion. I've had people close to me, Reddit users, repeat white supremacist and anti-feminist talking points in real life. Where did they get that information? "Well, that's how people feel." People naturally drift towards what they believe is the majority opinion. We're social animals. This is the basis for online marketing, and it's extremely effective. So then add into that white supremacist groups gaming reddit's voting system, buying upvotes, and flooding the frontpage with bots, and do you see the problem, yet?

[Edit to add: And I don't buy or care for Reddit/Facebook/Google making weak arguments that they're "fixing" things, because it's actually not a problem for them. Nazis making bots is bad for PR, but if it makes them $100,000 or a million, who cares? I've seen some bot detectors come out of academia and some associated corporate engineers with a conscious, but ffs it's too late. The damage has been done. Nazism is now legitimate again in the eyes of a significant amount of Western populations. Trump has a direct Twitter line to his zealots. Damage. Done.]

The worst part is that people don't realize, or will admit to, it happening. It was a cold realization to have sudden clarity about how Reddit was molding my own opinions, thoughts, and feelings about myself. I had a similar realization about 4chan back in my misspent youth (a significant amount of self-hatred stemmed from that cesspool), so I was willing to self-examine. Reddit is far more terrifying in this aspect, because it is one of the highest trafficked websites in the world now.

I'd rather hide out here, even though it's a self-segregated community, than be consistently exposed to that. The internet is being curated and segmented now by only a small handful of companies that are trying to control what we view and click on, so I might as well click on a site that seems safer.

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squirrels wrote (edited )

I haven't watched The Orville, hence I won't comment on that side of things (although I appreciate your critiques as I would believe it if it took TNG's worst colonial tendencies and ran away with them).

However, I am having a different experience with Disc. I feel like I should preface that DS9 is what I consider the best Trek - I shared the anti-imperialist take on it the other day.

Disc hasn't been living up to DS9 for me. I admit that part of me strongly wants a Trek that's essentially FALGSC commie paradise that must respond to imperial collapses around itself while simultaneously confronting the temptation to revert to imperialism from within. I get hopeful when Disc seems to flirt with those themes (the crew's moments of resistance to militarization), but it often feels more like a Liberal dream. Name dropping Musk is the least of my issues, as I've have a harder time with the establishment that the Federation has slave labor, a corrupt justice system, and an overall corrupt hierarchy. I look at the Federation of Disc and think of it as more of an American dream proxy (hasn't been an accusation that wasn't lobbed against previous Treks), where I'm reacting more like "eh, fuck the Federation then, if that's what it's all about." I'm not really invested in what tale they want to spin about getting out of the Klingon war, because the Federation so far doesn't seem worth saving.

DS9 was different for me in that it was that idea of utopia that struggled with how to confront hostile outside empires (adhere to ideals or act imperial itself for survival?) and all of the moral and personal quandaries involved with that. It didn't pull punches, either. Episodes on homelessness, security theater, PTSD, critiques of capitalism and misogyny, terrorism (back when the word wasn't so diluted), colonialism, reparations, etc. Etc.

While there are storytelling bright spots here and there in Disc (I enjoyed the tardigrade), I'm getting a little frustrated with having at least one rant-about-liberals worthy thing happen per episode.

But that's me. I appreciate that other leftists are enjoying it.

I will also say that, while I can't comment on Orville and get the annoyance over fans wanting an unproblematic Trek, I understand the desire to see an idealized world. Not from a liberal perspective of having an American imperial depiction, but from wanting a positive depiction of socialism in a post-artificial scarcity world. We get so few examples in mainstream media of a (suspiciously socialist) utopia. While most people watching aren't open leftists, I do think that some fall into that category of feeling an impulse to see a working society and just lack the education to put it to words. There's a bit of a missed opportunity in that with a show that doesn't set the Federation up as worth saving before entering its deep, harsh critiques of it.

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squirrels wrote

Oh boy, I actually have a friend who is. It's strained our friendship a couple of times. The problem is that he (and a surprising amount of right-wing libertarians) is a case of "so close, and yet so far." We'll have fantastic conversations about the drug war, sexual freedom, etc. And then we'll get sooooo close when we get into his disgust for the elite class and corporations.... only to lose him somewhere around how capitalism is still the best system we've got because "freedom." Sigh.

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squirrels wrote

Agreed.

I've practiced it in the past and meditated, and probably still will in the future, but I realized that what actually pisses me off is the Industry of Mindfulness. The concept is really as simple as you say, and it deserves critique. It's not going to magically transform your life singlehandedly, it's just a tactic about focusing on the moment. And yet now it's become an entire area of self-help psuedopsychology that has spawned paid classes, gurus, books, videos, and other charlatans making a quick buck off of what comes down to "focus on what you're doing right now." That's not even touching on the problematic cultural appropriation that is often shoved into this commercialization. Ugh.

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squirrels wrote

This is why there is an Elsevier boycott: http://thecostofknowledge.com/

Please don't let this come across as discouraging, because we need as many intellectuals as we can get that are the raddle crowd, but this is just one part of why I believe academia may be irrevocably broken and needs replacing with a truly open source revolution. I've heard rants from senior faculty, and they furtively try their best to come up with ways to change things "from the inside" (we know how that goes), but the institutions are set up to squeeze as much money as possible from new researchers and systematically discourage them from open source publishing.

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squirrels wrote

There's scihub, but it has a distinctly biomedical bias in what materials they have gathered so far (which is cool - definitely an area to focus on first).

This issue is why Aaron Swartz cracked Jstor, and we all saw what happened to him. His death made quite a few scared ripples in academia.