jer_, Todd was not posting comments on my behalf, but, I take it, because he found what I said to him in a chat window to be interesting. If you need me to address you directly in order for you to take what I said seriously: here you go.
Do not, however, mistake this for a wish to engage in an argument with you about privilege and normativity. I have better ways to waste my time. Todd was, I gather, looking for a response from you for his own edification. Since I'm on the side of Todd's edification, and you ought to be to, I figure it's right and proper for you to mount a response for him. (Then again, I do suppose you have the right not to give a shit.)
2011-07-09 07:41 pm (UTC)
So here was the original comment.
Being generous to both sides, you would say that the invocation of privilege is not precisely an ad hominem circumstantial, since what's going on isn't an argument of that sort. It's not that a position is made from a privileged position isn't correct, it's just that it's narrower in scope than its advocates think.
You claim P is normative for all cases; but I want to point out that P is only normative for a range of cases that you aren't in a position to see. And so while he's certainly right at some level (you don't like google's policy that you must use your actual name? don't use google plus!), it is also the case that the enforcement of actual, legal names on social networking sites is only non-problematic for people in certain situations.
The claim of privilege here is that people who are in non-problematic (straight, white, male, upper/middle class, cis-gendered, etc. etc. etc.) mistake their situation of non-problematic alignment of real and online identities as normative for a much wider range of cases than it in fact is.
The question, one which is much trickier to deal with, is what sort of ethical burden does google bear here? to whom is it obligated and how? does it matter that using your real name in a public way might make you open to, say, online stalking in a way you'd prefer not?
The problem with getting cranky at feminists for claims of privilege is that it mistakes the ad hominem circumstantial at two levels: one, it's out of context (i.e. not formal rhetoric); and, two: it's not a personal attack, so don't get your defensiveness on. an ad hominem argument isn't always invalid, and it's also not always about you.
2011-07-10 02:52 am (UTC)
Re: So here was the original comment.
This is what I like to call "disguising a nonsensical argument with high-falutin' language". Let's dissect:
Being generous to both sides, ... it's just that it's narrower in scope than its advocates think.
Semantically, this actually says nothing. It implies that them saying “if you disagree, of course you would, because of your privilege” isn't ad hominem circumstantial [ahc for short] when it is remarkably close to the very definition.
Of course privilege exists in the dynamic, I even said so. I also said that the way that it was being used is as a shut-up stick.
You claim P is normative for all cases; ... it is also the case that the enforcement of actual, legal names on social networking sites is only non-problematic for people in certain situations.
Distilled, you appear to be saying that there are only some cases in which not allowing anonymity is a problem, and not having those cases afflict an arguer is, in effect, privilege. Duh! This doesn't, however, discuss my point in the slightest, which is that privilege doesn't mean we can't participate in the discussion, nor does it invalidate disagreement.
The claim of privilege here ... mistake their situation of non-problematic alignment of real and online identities as normative for a much wider range of cases than it in fact is. You are pretending that the situation of problematic alignment of real online identities as normative for a much wider range of cases than it, in fact, is.
See, we can both manufacture facts to support our outlandish claims. These are super easy claims to make without backing facts, but I like that you blithely do so anyway. The fact is, you are talking out of your ass here (just like when I make the counter claim without fact). My suspicion is that the cases in which it is genuinely problematic is far less widespread than you believe…and far more widespread than what you give me credit for believing—but both issues miss my point.
Fact is, I know it's a problem for a not-insignificant number of people. Those people should probably not use the service. Eating peanuts is a problem for a not insignificant number of people too…I'd suggest they not make PB&J sandwiches, not reformulate peanut butter.
The question, one which is much trickier to deal with, is what sort of ethical burden does google bear here? ...
These are, indeed, tricky questions…and ones that, were we to allow the shouters of ‘privilege’ their way, I would not be allowed to participate in. Nor would, based on your gender, you. Nor a significant part of the software using population. So perhaps a trickier quandary is the one I proposed: could we stop shutting down conversation with the ahc version of privilege?
The problem with getting cranky at feminists for claims of privilege is that it mistakes the ad hominem circumstantial at two levels: one, it's out of context (i.e. not formal rhetoric);
So how does one have to formalize rhetoric before one has to apply logical standards to it, precisely? Who is the governing body? Are we not responsible for our words, or are only those that are being told they are privileged so constrained? These are called 'informal' for a reason. They are meant to judge informal use of rhetorical device.
and, two: it's not a personal attack, so don't get your defensiveness on. an ad hominem argument isn't always invalid, and it's also not always about you.
Umm, it doesn't have to be a personal attack (which it is)…when the arguer pre-shuts-down your part in a discussion by saying “believing that this isn't a problem is privilege” so that they can ignore you is a personal attack on anyone that disagrees, it's rhetorically fallacious, and it needs to stop.
And if you disagree, it is out of stupidity, and therefore your opinions bear no merit. (This isn't a personal attack, as I'm not calling *you* stupid, just anyone who disagrees…perhaps I should instead say your disagreement stems from privilege rather than stupidity to avoid it being an ad hominem?)
2011-07-10 02:14 am (UTC)
So instead, you choose to waste my time? Fair. If Todd comes up with his own thoughts, he's welcome to bring them to the table for discussion. If you would like to bring your own thoughts to the table, I'd be happy to discuss yours. This proxy horseshit, however, isn't conducive to rational discussion...and I won't further waste my time with it.
I'll disagree with you on this one. And I will say as is said many times over on G+, the majority of the people arguing for real names are white men.
Until you've walked a mile of the internet in women's shoes, you don't really have a dog in this fight. (And that is the end of my bad cliche use.)
I am pretty darned open about who I am online, but nevertheless, having a non-gendered internet identify has be considerably helpful many times, if only in avoiding a bunch of cybersex requests that I didn't want. And that's the least of it.
2011-07-10 03:13 am (UTC)
Except the herd of females that are saying the same in the linked thread. And again, your argument is utterly without merit..."These guys are straight and white, therefore, their opinions don't matter and they aren't allowed to have what they want." This would sound stupid if replaced with "female" or "gay" or "black".
You further compound an utterly ignorant argument with the second paragraph that I'll ignore for my sanity.
I am, however, annoyed that they force gender to be public information that can't be held private. That seems like a foolish choice to me.
Edited at 2011-07-10 03:20 am (UTC)
"Herd of females" - really?
And utterly without merit? Talk about shutting things down.
"These guys are straight and white, therefore, their opinions don't matter and they aren't allowed to have what they want."
Well, that would be offensive. If that had been what I said.
What I said instead was that being white males, this kind of an issue doesn't affect you like it does women. And that you need to recognize that and maybe take it into consideration.
"You further compound an utterly ignorant argument with the second paragraph that I'll ignore for my sanity."
How is my actual experience "ignorant"? I've been online since 1988. This has been my experience. Want to tell me how it hasn't been? Want to tell me how it's ignorant of me to say that men often approach women online for reasons other than discussion?
And hey, my argument is without merit? Ya know what - tell me where and why I'm wrong, but saying without merit, ignorant, and stupid is NOT the way to make anyone consider your view. In fact, it's the fastest way possible to get someon moving on to cursing you out. But hey, maybe that was your intent!
"This would sound stupid if replaced with "female" or "gay" or "black"."
No, it wouldn't - depending on the context. The context here is that women have more to fear from personal identification.
I'll also go from another route - I live in a coservative part of the country. I express both my political and religious views online. I don't want those attached back to my real name because it could have a detrimental affect on my earning ability.
2011-07-10 03:55 am (UTC)
Yes, you should definitely take exception to 'herd'...it clearly was a slam. *sigh*
Oh, and I'm sorry that I didn't note your alternate meaning for “Until you've walked a mile of the internet in women's shoes, you don't really have a dog in this fight. ”, but which you meant…umm…hrmm…
Most importantly, you're continuing to miss the point. The point is that the women lobbing about the magical ‘privilege’ as a way to halt disagreement (kinda sorta like you did, only without saying the word) are not engaging in meaningful discussion if they mean to cause the people they're shutting down to consider their points of view. The simple fact is, it's easier to ignore the 'noise' in the signal if you're simply being shouted at.
Saying, “well, you're a straight, white male, therefore your opinions on this subject bear no merit” is inaccurate, insulting, and foolish. It would be more accurate to say “your point of view does not share the same experiences as mine”, which allows for a difference of opinion. Because, guess what, I'm familiar with the problem and I still disagree with you. That's not privilege, but you'd like it to be, so you can ignore it.
*shrug* If you feel like cussing me out for that, feel free. I'm more than capable of taking it. And I'm just as capable of ignoring cussin' as I am opinions that allow for no dissent.
Now, if you continue to state that opinions are nullified by the gender of their bearer, I'll continue to find your opinions on the matter ignorant, uninformed, and useless to the discussion. Your anecdotes no more inform data than mine.
I would suggest that your opinions aren't nullified, but they don't have the same weight of experience as many others, especial WRT the internet.
I am, in terms of the internet, an elderly person. I've been here since its early days. Perhaps some of my feelings about it are getting antiquated. I can only hope. But I can only speak from my experience, and that experience tells me that being able to adopt a nom de 'net is a helpful and protective thing.
2011-07-10 04:12 am (UTC)
I've been fucking around on the net since before there was a net…so playing the old school card isn't going to yield the awe you're possibly hoping for, but it does yield this: I disagree with you with the exact same weight of experience, albeit most of that weight is in alternate areas. The experience is long, but we have spent it in different ways.
That said I entirely agree that anonymity is a helpful thing…except you keep saying it like it's an absolute, and it's not. My bank's website, for example, would get right pissy if they couldn't call me by my name. My blog, however, allows people to anonymize without penalty. I find the ability to draw distinctions important.
Google+ is, for me, useful only insomuch as it is a network of real live people; like my LinkedIn. Not a spam farm, not a marketing opportunity, not a collective of nicknames. Already, the few nicknames that have filtered in are annoyance (and, oftener than not, men, anecdotally speaking), and it detracts from the experience. There is a certain sense of entitlement that says, though, "I have seen this new thing, and I know you all like this new thing, but I want to change it into what I want..." and that troubles me.
Now, we have added to that sense of entitlement the followup of "...and if you don't give me my changes, it is because you are continuing a pattern of anti-*me*-ism that is oppressive and is a function of your privilege and is therefore evil" which means, of course, nobody can say no. We're being dicks then, eh?
So, I disagree. There's Twitter. There's Dreamwidth. There's a lot going on in anonymity. Feel free to take anonymity there, and leave the non-anonymous discussions to those so inclined. (And thank you for continuing to stay as far off topic as you can, it's so appreciated)
"My bank's website, for example, would get right pissy if they couldn't call me by my name. "
And I would expect Google to do the same if they needed my name. For example, when Google Payments get going, I expect they'll need that verification -and I'll give it to them.
I have suggested elsewhere that they could implement a field where we put in our real name, and then let us choose to display it, or a nickname instead. Then they'd have the data but we could choose how much we want to expose.
"There is a certain sense of entitlement that says, though, "I have seen this new thing, and I know you all like this new thing, but I want to change it into what I want..." and that troubles me."
Except that Google wants us. They want our eyes, and our usage, and our participation. That's the nature of the beast. They also want our feedback. I've had 3 google employees contact me for my views on this, including the suggestion I made above.
LinkedIn, IMO, is something entirely different. It's basically a professional site, and in that way, requires that you display your professional identity.
Again, you make a hyperbolic jump to the "oh then they must be evil" and "we're being dicks." No, there are gradations. I'm still on G+, so obviously I am not one of those kneejerk reactionaries. I will work with them.
I don't think it's unreasonable to discuss with them that there may be alternatives to what they originally came up with, in a beta product.
I'm on twitter and dreamwidth and...ad infinitum.
"(And thank you for continuing to stay as far off topic as you can, it's so appreciated)"
I give as I receive. You keep ad hominim-ing.
And I'm not offtopic. I'm just not discussing it as you'd like it to be discussed. Forgive me for not adopting your paradigm.
Edited at 2011-07-10 04:22 am (UTC)
2011-07-10 04:22 am (UTC)
I don't think the *DISCUSSION* is unreasonable. I don't even think your VIEW is unreasonable. I disagree, but that doesn't mean that I think it's unreasonable. What I find unreasonable is that my reasons for wanting my way don't count because I have a cock.
2011-07-10 04:45 am (UTC)
No, you're off topic. The topic is how privilege is being misused. Making up your own topic and calling it on topic is a lot like going to a service and demanding that they change to be what you want them to be.
Oh, wait, you do that too.
(PS. I keep ad hominem-ing when you keep going off topic...now let's see if, like a rat in a maze, you keep pressing the 'insult' button, or move to the 'discussion' button...so far, the rat's winning)
(PPS Now *THAT* is an insult...the last were merely helpful guides.)
2011-07-10 04:01 am (UTC)
Answered separately, because this is important as fuck:
I live in a coservative part of the country. I express both my political and religious views online. I don't want those attached back to my real name because it could have a detrimental affect on my earning ability.
Then…here's the tricky bit…GO THE FUCK TO ANOTHER SERVICE. How is this a challenging concept? The fact that I'm straight and white does not exempt me from having to safeguard my online persona. If I wish to say things that might injure my potential job prospects, I do it within a forum that allows anonymity. I don't expect those with nut allergies to steal my peanut butter, I don't expect those with celiac to get rid of my bread, and I don't expect those with sensitive living situations to steal my place to avoid anonymity. But again, this post isn't about that. You seem hazy on the concept, but that's okay, I can argue both points.
Which service isn't nation/world wide?
Why should I be excluded from a service because of my state of residence?
I also participate in many places which allow (pseudo) anonimity. But it seems that G+ is where a lot of the good tech talk is migrating - why should I be excluded from that?
As far as your other points go, I can relate. I'm a diabetic, and I am minus a colon, but I don't expect the world to bend to my dietary needs. But that's apples and oranges.
I really must object to your constant deprecation of my intelligence (hazy on the concept....?) Could you please learn to have a discussion without denigrating the other participant? Seriously, it's not difficult or challenging. And you might find it actually INTERESTING to discuss with someone who isn't constantly feeling insulted.
2011-07-10 04:19 am (UTC)
You shouldn't be excluded. Feel free to join and not make potentially hazardous statements? Why should you not enjoy tasty peanuts despite your allergy? Because the world is a place where grown-ups must deal the fact that they can't participate in everything equally. I'll never be a pro athlete and I'll never birth a child (thank god on both accounts, I suppose).
Why should you not be allowed to participate on G+? You are totally allowed. You are saying that the rules of the place make you not wish to, which isn't the same as not being allowed. I would LOVE a delicious steak at Logan's Roadhouse. The floor is covered in peanuts. Instead, I must eat an inferior Outback Steakhouse steak. Why should I not be allowed? Because I choose my life over a delicious steak. You choose your livelihood over tech talk on this platform. I'm sure the tech talk on Twitter is as delicious as an Outback steak (or moreso...but not as good as a blooming onion, because...well...c'mon).
Perhaps I'll be less insulting when you take some of the verbal cues and slide onto topic. I'll happily start a whole thread devoted to arguing why I believe that my view on the subject is right; but I'm generally hoping to leave this space to discuss the misuse of privilege. Of course, now neither the subtle nor the insulting cues are working…so I don't really know where to go from there…massively more insulting?
Something for me to ponder, I s'pose.
OK, this is now on topic since you persist in making it so: your insults, present since comment #1, prevent a rational calm discussion untinged by emotional response.
Verbal cues? A verbal 2-by-4 isn't a cue, it's an injury. It's meant to stop discussion. At this point, I realize that that would make you feel quite content - hah, you beat me down with the power of your brains and wit! Alas. I'm not impressed, and it frankly is making me view you with disdain.
And since with this comment, I'm heading off, and won't darken your LJ again, I'll go out guns-a-blazin'. You really didn't want actual discussion here. You wanted people to tell you that your view was right! yes, right! When you didn't get that response, you had to go the low route.
I'm really sorry about that. I've enjoyed reading your lj for the time I've friended you. But this is just beyond the pale.
2011-07-10 04:32 am (UTC)
Yes, clearly I only want to be told I'm right. Spot on. Thanks for playing. Guns ablazing indeed. *sigh*
And great logic on how I'm making the off-topic post on-topic by being mean. Clever. Well thought out. Nicely done. I'd happily have a rational discussion with you in this thread about the matter at hand. I'd happily have the other discussion with you in another thread. But much like on g+, you want everything your way because *YOU DESERVE IT*, and that point of view earns all of the derision I lob its way.
2011-07-10 04:40 am (UTC)
Oh, and these were too precious to pass up:
A verbal 2-by-4 isn't a cue, it's an injury. It's meant to stop discussion.
Correct! It was meant to stop THE OFF TOPIC discussion.
When you didn't get that response, you had to go the low route.
Yes, the dastardly "let's get on topic here" low route. What a total DICK I am. I mean, I said that doing the exact thing that I just bitched about in a post was ignorant. What a fucking TOOL I am. Nevermind that I wasn't insulting you when you were on topic and not doing THE EXACT THING I JUST WROTE AN ENTIRE POST ABOUT, clearly I'm in the wrong here.
Nicely done. I like your style.
2011-07-10 03:14 am (UTC)
(also...read the terms of service...it doesn't say real names...so you're still arguing a made up argument)
It talks aoubt identity. And it's poorly worded now, and someone's already been deleted (though reinstated) for using a pseudonym. It's not a made-up argument.
2011-07-10 03:47 am (UTC)
Yes, entirely anecdotally, one person has (possibly) been deleted for identifying themselves solely through initials. Not for using a pseudonym, specifically, but for the use of solely three initials as identification. Anecdotally. In their version of the event.
Well, that person is a friend of mine. Soooo..whatever.
2011-07-10 04:13 am (UTC)
Oh, I have a friend with a pseudonym that wasn't deleted. Tit for tat with anecdotes next? I think I have a fucking shitload that haven't been bounced for anonymity, so it'll be a fun game for me...
Until you've walked a mile of the internet in women's shoes, you don't really have a dog in this fight. (And that is the end of my bad cliche use.)
Hi there. Woman user of internet since about 1990, so I think I can safely claim to have walked a mile or so. And happy also to say that your argument is mostly bullshit.
I have use for anonymity, or at least identity separation, in some aspects of my life. For those things, I use Live Journal and Twitter. But I don't expect that every social network out there has an obligation to protect my anonymity, and doing so would be naive and foolish. If you write it on the internet, you'd better be aware that someone may eventually connect it to your real life/name somewhere down the road. Because it happens.
All that aside, I have the same distaste for the ad hominem cries of "privilege" that Jer has. Neither of us is saying that privilege doesn't exist, only that it doesn't necessarily exist in every single situation, and that having one's voice silenced by claims of privilege is frustrating and, in the long run, actually damaging to communication and greater understanding. It's a neat little trick, though, to circumvent any disagreement and nullify the opinion of any opposition:
"I don't think this is a problem."
That's because of your privilege.
"I don't see how this has anything to do with privilege."
That's because you are too blind and stupid to see it.
"Hey, I'm trying to have a civil discussion here!"
Oh now you're arguing tone! How dare you! I don't have to be civil; I have anger!
"Wait; I'm sympathetic to your cause, I just don't understand how it relates to this issue."
It's not my job to educate you.
How is this ever a meaningful and productive discussion? And yet I see it continually. I get caught up in it continually, because I'm more privileged than some other group of people--and I fully admit that I am, because I am Caucasian and most of the other nonprivileged parts of my life are not readily visible. But that apparently means that I can be silenced on issues because my opinion only counts to the level that I lack privilege.
That's unfair and counterproductive.
Edited at 2011-07-11 12:54 am (UTC)