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What discourse norms do you tend to follow? Why? Do you think everyone else should follow them, and why?

I think the best any of us can hope for is to always remember that there are human beings on the other ends of these battlegrounds of ones and zeroes. They (and by “they” I mean “Them™,” as distinct from “Us™”) are human beings who have different stories and different circumstances.

Which is why my usual first goal in an internet argument is to find common ground, something we can agree on and work from there. If that doesn’t work, I at least try to see things from their perspective before flying off the handle at someone. I wish I could get more specific about discourse norms, but every situation is different and blanket one-size-fits-all rules rarely work.

One thing I think everyone could stand to focus more on? Replying to what the other person actually said, not just to something you once heard someone who loosely shares some political beliefs with the person you’re talking to say (one of the main reasons I abandoned SJ is because I was tired of people being treated as monoliths whose responsibility it was to answer for everything ever done by someone who shared a gender or melanin count or any Kevin-Bacon-degreed friends with them).

What is the true reason, deep down, that you believe what you believe? What piece of evidence, test, or line of reasoning would convince you that you’re wrong about your ideology?

I didn’t have one big huge revelatory moment, it was a gradual drift away from SJ for me. A lot of things kept happening, like (to pick some more recent examples) a Steven Universe fan artist getting bullied into a suicide attempt for drawing Rose Quartz too thin, and a guy who got paid to write thinkpieces about how nerds are evil and creepy turned out to actually be a sexual predator himself.

As for what could persuade me out of my beliefs, at least the ones regarding Social Justice? Well, I’d like to think I’m a perfectly open-minded person who adjusts opinions promptly based on new information, but to be honest the answer would probably involve living in a world where people didn’t have their lives ruined over out-of-context misquotes on the internet?

(I suppose it helps that, despite my leaving social justice in the dust, I’m still pretty far to the left politically)

Explain Gamergate.

Gamergate was an abrupt crystallization of a lot of long-simmering conflicts in geekdom, a poorly-maintained powder room ignited by a stray spark.

In the one corner, we had a bunch of people who were tired of being ordered to apologize for existing, tired of being blamed for things that weren’t their fault, and tired of being told that they were alternately incapable of emotions or had no right to express emotions when there were people with real problems out there. In the other corner, there were, well, the people who were doing that stuff, though also a lot of well-meaning and empathetic people caught in the crossfire.

But of course, a boxing ring has four corners. In the third corner were a bunch of social media platforms and news sites who bring in ad revenue by stoking conflicts, and so they built brands by publicly condemning the fallen state of geekdom while subtly encouraging the very rage they were mocking. They didn’t care who “won” or who “lost” so long as it brought in clicks. And in the fourth corner were a small but very vocal and active minority of sociopaths whose explicit goal is to deliberately escalate every conflict they can find, for no other reason than because they find it amusing to make others suffer.

Put all that together, and yeah, there’s gonna be a row, and a very disorganized one at that.