Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: #NetHui: it's all about you

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  • Don Christie,

    Given the theme of Russell's article, isn't it remarkable (and good) that this time round the discussion is about gender and the internet rather than copyright.

    Maybe now would not be a good time to throw in my "24 hours" digital copyright term proposal. Round about minute 5, but the preceding 5 minutes Q&A are good.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1615 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Robyn Gallagher,

    I suspect this might not be unique to Public Address, but I notice it here a lot.

    Yes. OTOH, the highly discursive nature of discussions is one of PAS's delights.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18508 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Russell Brown,

    This may have earned you one of my Special Golden Foil Tickets to Foo Camp :-)

    Beat me to it. Bart, meet Foo.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8305 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Special Golden Foil Tickets to Foo Camp

    Gettin wonky

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16270 posts Report Reply

  • Andre Alessi,

    Bouncing off on a tangent after the reference to mansplaining: Richard Dawkins managed to make a dick of himself over at Pharyngula by “explaining” to Western feminists that their issues don’t actually matter because someone else has it worse.

    Classic mansplaining that deserves to be called as such, and I’m glad PZ Myers decided to tell Dawkins off for it. (Link goes to PZ’s rundown of the situation, which is well worth reading for its attempt to be fair and forthright-although not nearly strongly enough for my tastes.)

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 846 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to BenWilson,

    I think there’s a lot of factors, and it’s not just feeling threatened by angry internet commentators

    Sure, and a big factor with the comments sections on many sites is that all the other comments are silly, misinformed and/or pointlessly argumentative, so why would you even bother, regardless of what gender everyone is?

    But I think there's also a critical mass thing. If I see a whole bunch of guys talking, I don't feel welcome to join in. If there's a discussion with plenty of female input, I do.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3410 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Robyn Gallagher,

    after that window has shut, you cannot talk on that subject any more

    Never noticed that myself. Have struggled to catch up with busy threads but to me that merely reflects the volume and complexity of conversation rather than some never-going-back-to-a-topic tendency. Digressions abound, however.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16270 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Lilith __,

    If I see a whole bunch of guys talking, I don't feel welcome to join in

    Really? Or is it something about the *way* we're talking?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16270 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Lilith __,

    But I think there's also a critical mass thing. If I see a whole bunch of guys talking, I don't feel welcome to join in. If there's a discussion with plenty of female input, I do.

    See, I don't get that, but that might relate to how many of my RL close friends are male.

    Yes. OTOH, the highly discursive nature of discussions is one of PAS's delights.

    Discursive. Recursive...

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4327 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Robyn Gallagher,

    I mean, you can post, but no one will really respond because they've all naturally moved on to the in-group chat and so your post is kind of off-topic.

    Definitely noticed that. There's a hot-time. But equally, I've never had a complaint for reintroducing a topic. There's often a lurker out there with a killer post who hasn't been beaten to the punch by those of us who can type at a hundred words a minute, who engages right then. I feel like stamping a mark on my wall when that happens.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8305 posts Report Reply

  • Andre Alessi, in reply to Robyn Gallagher,

    It’s not one particular group of people, just whoever is left still active in the chat. The main downside of this is if you’re offline for a day and try to join in on the original topic, it’s almost impossible.

    I've belatedly accepted that this is just how things go, and despite my constant anxiety about posting something irrelevant or out of context, I'll throw my two cents in whenever I come across the thread. The worst that can happen is that I'll be ignored or teased, which is something I'm at peace with.

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 846 posts Report Reply

  • Heather Gaye, in reply to Danielle,

    Terminology note: I think ‘mansplaining’ and ‘patronising’ actually *do* have slightly different meanings, in that the former implies a specific ‘barging blindly into the conversation to immediately pontificate about an issue which everyone has been discussing for months or years already’

    Wasn't there another thread here than mentioned mansplaining a short while back? Might've a link to elsewhere, but I had an "ooohhh" moment when someone expressly defined it as speaking from the platform of male privilege. The question was about whether women could be guilty of "mansplaining" and the conclusion was that technically not really, but they could be guilty of whitesplaining or richsplaining or whatever, depending on their circumstances.
    So...yeah, requires the presence of a faulty argument, and doesn't even necessarily apply when someone's being merely patronising.

    re: women joining in, there was a good conversation here about that a while back, I think around the time (possibly just before) Emma started writing for PA. Deborah mentioned a concept I liked a lot called the "politics of presence". Based on nowt more than my gut, I think female engagement on PA has definitely been on the rise for a while.

    ...and from Emma, way back on page 1...

    I always assume that all my conversations that aren't one on one involve members of both genders.

    both genders?

    Under the western motorwa… • Since Nov 2006 • 523 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Don Christie,

    Maybe now would not be a good time to throw in my “24 hours” digital copyright term proposal. Round about minute 5, but the preceding 5 minutes Q&A are good.

    Oh Don, don’t make me …

    But okay: the problem with throwing up radical ideas for pushing back copyright –even as thought experiments – is this:

    On a practical level, especially if you’re telling people that it’s their “business model” that’s the problem, copyright abolitionist (or near) ideas rapidly become extremely unreasonable.

    Let’s take music: okay, maybe retail sales aren’t the thing any more. But if you basically get rid of copyright, you’re also killing off most other options.

    Publishing, including performance rights income (ie: Apra) and synchronisation (getting money for the use of your song in an ad or a TV programme or movie) is the thing that’s been filling the gap for composers as retail sales wither. SJD, to take one example, made his return on Songs from a Dictaphone not through sales, but through three big commercial sync deals. The L.E.D.s, at a lesser scale, got three songs placed on Outrageous Fortune. It can work, but it’s entirely contingent on copyright.

    If you extinguish that avenue, then, yes, bedroom mashers will be able to use anything they want without asking first. But so will big corporations. It would be an awful situation.

    Basically, you’re telling people it’s their fault for not adopting a “business model” that doesn’t actually exist.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18508 posts Report Reply

  • Heather Gaye,

    Flipping heck, when I started writing that post, I was still on page 4.

    Under the western motorwa… • Since Nov 2006 • 523 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Heather Gaye,

    both genders?

    Cis privilege.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18508 posts Report Reply

  • Heather Gaye, in reply to Robyn Gallagher,

    It’s like there’s an initial window of on-topic discussion, but after that window has shut, you cannot talk on that subject any more. I mean, you can post, but no one will really respond because they’ve all naturally moved on to the in-group chat and so your post is kind of off-topic.

    There are two things I've noticed:
    1 The community's gotten really big. Popular threads get a *lot* of comments in a very short time, so the conversation moves really fast. I imagine that's common to large online communities.
    2 Often trolls or flame wars are dealt with by derailing into whimsy, which a smaller circle will then run with. I quite like that, & it's not really something I've seen on other forums. Frustrating if you've got a point to make, but generally a fun way to draw a line under a contentious thread.

    Under the western motorwa… • Since Nov 2006 • 523 posts Report Reply

  • recordari, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Flipping heck, when I started writing that post, I was still on page 4.

    Yep, there's a time when you just have to sit back and watch the waves crashing on the shore, because keeping up requires ninja type skills, or stimulants.

    I don't have statistics, but, apart from a few exceptions, it seems to me that threads do start to approach 140 characters or less after a certain period. Which is why I've come to enjoy the the multi-verse approach between here and Twitter.

    ETA: I'm really randomising the reply to button today. Sorry.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Lilith __,

    Sure, and a big factor with the comments sections on many sites is that all the other comments are silly, misinformed and/or pointlessly argumentative, so why would you even bother, regardless of what gender everyone is?

    The question that leaps to mind is "why doesn't that put the men off?".

    Personally, I have to say that I enjoyed a pointlessly argumentative period early on, but feel that I've moved on. I wonder how many others have done the same, and is there a gender difference on that?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8305 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Ah, Russell has JUST beaten me to "It's a fair cop, but my gender-normative privilege is to blame."

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4327 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Heather Gaye,

    There are two things I’ve noticed:
    1 The community’s gotten really big. Popular threads get a *lot* of comments in a very short time, so the conversation moves really fast. I imagine that’s common to large online communities.

    But, still, even by Nielsen's lowball number of 17,000 (context: in Earthquake February, Google Analytics had us at about 80,000 unique users, which I don't believe), lurkers still massively outnumber commenters.

    2 Often trolls or flame wars are dealt with by derailing into whimsy, which a smaller circle will then run with. I quite like that, & it’s not really something I’ve seen on other forums. Frustrating if you’ve got a point to make, but generally a fun way to draw a line under a contentious thread.

    Perceptive, you are. It's a very desirable characteristic of PAS culture. I think that's because so many people here are reasonably experienced internet arguers -- right back to Usenet and listservs, so they're sensitive to things going pear-shaped and co-operate to change the tone. The Serious Discussion will come back after a time.

    Hey, can anybody help me with one of the standard shut-downs in the feminist blogosphere: the "tone argument"?

    Anyone's objection to someone being an asshat is instantly disabled when it's labelled a "tone argument". It seems to me that tone is incredibly important to a sensible discussion, and that remonstrating with someone over their obviously unhelpful tone is a productive form of moderation.

    I get that it's A Thing. But where did "tone argument" come from?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18508 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    Russell, the point is this, the term of copyright was originally set to 7 + 7 years to allow publishers and authors time to reap reward for their works - assuming they could get an audience who would pay for their efforts.

    At the time, 300 years ago, the distribution networks were muddy roads, horses and sailing ships. Today, the distribution network for digital content is te interwebs. The potential audience is billions and the time to market is seconds *.

    The response of the US "content" industry has been to demand copyright terms of life plus 120 years. I am proposing a counter offer based solely on the improvements that technology have brought us in the intervening years.

    Which proposal is the most reasonable in that context? I am certainly willing to listen to arguments in favour of a longer term than 24 hours for digital content. Not to do so would be stupid, but longer than the 7 years deemed reasonable for publishers 300 years ago? Come on.

    *Note, for the purposes of this debate I am limiting my attention to digital content...

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1615 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler, in reply to recordari,

    Yep, there’s a time when you just have to sit back and watch the waves crashing on the shore, because keeping up requires ninja type skills, or stimulants.

    AND not having real work to do :-)

    I jest. But seriously Internet, you just wait, because if you still exist when my kids leave home and I retire early to a tropical island with my cats and my Thinkpad, you're not going to know what hit you!

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 799 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to BenWilson,

    Personally, I have to say that I enjoyed a pointlessly argumentative period early on, but feel that I’ve moved on. I wonder how many others have done the same, and is there a gender difference on that?

    Actually, there's a long-established pattern of people coming in a bit bristly then eventually getting the rhythm of the place and becoming highly valued contributors. Like you. And recordari.

    Lilith, as I recall, came in to comment on Emma's chronic fatigue syndrome, took a short while to get her bearings, and has been an excellent new voice.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18508 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler, in reply to Heather Gaye,

    2 Often trolls or flame wars are dealt with by derailing into whimsy, which a smaller circle will then run with. I quite like that, & it’s not really something I’ve seen on other forums. Frustrating if you’ve got a point to make, but generally a fun way to draw a line under a contentious thread.

    It was quite fun watching a certain someone taking that technique to the Dim-Post the other day, and using it to tie The Other James in logical knots. It's great as long as one has tried engagement first, something that this forum is IMHO pretty good at mostly.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 799 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Heather Gaye,

    derailing into whimsy

    It is so much more fun to be whimsical than to be angry.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3215 posts Report Reply

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