Ethics Quiz: Wait, What Did I Do Wrong?

Ethics Alarms reader and frequent commenter Michael J. Ejercito reports that he tried to post this morning’s warm-up on the U.S. politics Reddit and got the above response.

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day is…

What in this post was not “safe, civil, or true to their purpose”?

I honestly have no idea. What’s going on here?

It appears to me that as Twitter has come out as a direct censor of any assertive commentary that offends “the resistance,” other social media is becoming emboldened to engage in outright censorship. But maybe that’s not it. Could it be that appending the adjectives “dumb” and “stupid” to conduct and statements that are per se idiotic is “uncivil” in blog commentary of social media? If so, how do you diagnose and expose dumb and stupid statements and conduct. I guess I could be like Jonathan Turley and just say everything that is aimed at the gullible, ignorant and mouth breathing is “troubling.”

Hell, this ticks me off. It’s bad enough that Facebook regards every post here as a violation of its community standards without ever explaining why (though I think it’s because I dared to post a fair and thoughtful defense of Fred Astaire’s use of black makeup in “Top Hat”).  Let’s see: which item in the warm-up represents an unfair, unsafe, or uncivil application of the terms “dumb” or “stupid”:

Tate MacRae’s hit song, which is nothing but a more prosaic and less moving version of Sondheim’s great “Losing My Mind”?

#1, about the widespread discussion of the spike in virus cases that omit the protests as a prominent cause?

#2, about MSNBC elevating a vile incompetent to anchor status?

#3. Is it referring to the GOP as “the stupid party,” which has been a common and often quoted insult for many years, if not decades? (I find this especially unlikely.)

#4.( Oops! I just realized I had two #3s. Better fix that…done.) Is it the implication, this one with a brief parody of a song lyric, that De Blasio grafitti tactic is both uncivil and dumb?

#5. Is it the statement that public figures making public statements, especially in Minnesota, that the man (over-) charged with murder in the death of George Floyd did murder him (thus poisoning any potential jury pool and tainting the prospect of that “justice” upon which future “peace” rests, and risking future riots when Chauvin isn’t convicted) is incredibly stupid? Because, you know, it is….

#6. Is it the implication that a public figure who cries wolf about a “noose” based on hearsay information, causes his organization to grovel in white guilt, forces the FBI to spend–what, thousands? Hundreds of thousands?—to have the claim investigated only to learn that there is no way the noose, which wasn’t a noose, was directed at him as a black man, and yet still insists it was a noose because he doesn’t have the integrity to admit he was wrong isn’t the brightest bulb on the tree?

Or is the post unsafe and uncivil because, by purest chance because I don’t race-check people or topics, 5 out of the 6 items involved Black Lives Matter or criticism of black individuals, to wit Joy Reid, Don Lemon, and Bubba Wallace? Wait, is the Minneapolis police commissioner black? Checking…yup, he is. I had no idea, and my opinion of his statement wouldn’t change if he were Mongolian.

I guess that means I’m a racist.


23 thoughts on “Ethics Quiz: Wait, What Did I Do Wrong?

  1. Jack. Your posts do not “follow the narrative,” therefore, they have to go. If you’re not helping the movement, you’re of no use. You’re actually dangerous.

  2. Jack, The reason so many go into the IT field is because they like airconditioned clean work environments. They like to automate everything that can be automated. They use algorythms.

    It is probable that Reddit and others have created an algorythm to scan each others blacklists for expediency.

    Think about that practice from an anti-trust perspective.

      • Do you think the platforms look at each tweet or check each person to see if they are in twitter jail before something is posted in real time.

        Algorythms are used to evaluate all sorts of data from viruses to what you bought last week on Amazon

        Blacklists or whitelists are in your server rules and dictate who can enter your site. They have been around since dBase first entered the market.

        If Reddit already knows to block EA it (EA) was on a ban list. This is why they cannot give you a reason for not allowing a given post.

      • Sorry, I did not immediately see what you were doing. I had forgotten that white lists are also used.

        Maybe all these terms are a form of dark humor.

        • CM – yes my intent was sarcasm and the /s is a common Reddit convention to signal same. But you got there eventually.

          HT below makes an interesting point that someone could start a subreddit for r/JackMarshall or r/ethicsalarms, per se. Probably even someone with out Jack’s blessing. Cross-posts in (sympathetic)subreddits would drive traffic to same to build subscribers and contributors and the sub could direct traffic back to here.

          While Reddit has some platform controls, it is the mods in the subs that rule the roost. Mods are everyday users for the most part. Many mods automate their role, as you have said, using a “bot” where very heavy handed filtering is applied. But I find that there is more diversity of views on Reddit as a whole, though not necessarily in any one subreddit, than on many other platforms.

          Don’t look at r/porsche and think you will see a bunch of Ferrari lovers shitting on German engineering. But some subreddits have names that deceive and r/uspolitics is one of them.

  3. The co-founder of Reddit resigned and demanded a “person of color” replace him on the Board of Directors.

    This should tell you about the culture there.

  4. The chilling of free speech is happening, I feel it at work, online, thankfully not in my home…this is not going to end well….

  5. Each Reddit community is curated by the moderators of that community, which are usually the people who started the Reddit. In this case the Reddit is r/uspolitics, and while I don’t generally Reddit at work, so I don’t know who the moderators of that Reddit are, I feel like I could safely bet that they aren’t associated in any meaningful way with Reddit. I could start r/JackMarshall tomorrow, that doesn’t create a requirement for Reddit to police the Reddit comments.

    To draw a parallel, it’s akin to the relationship between spammed comments, yourself, and WordPress… Which doesn’t mean that those moderators aren’t politically biased, special snowflakes, it’s that the problem is much smaller than Reddit. Reddit is actually one of the better social media platforms for allowing communities to police themselves so long as they have what is deemed an appropriate maturity rating.

    • Yes. A few quick reads of the comments by the redditor, (the creator of the page), make clear exactly the politics that are tolerated on r/uspolitics. This is entirely on the moderators, not Reddit, Reddit blows for a number of reasons, but they ain’t the reason for this not being posted.
      The reddit community creator u/nikdahl got lucky snagging the name “US Politics” for his page there, and I’m sure gets many views from unsuspecting people who wouldn’t view the page if it were titled “Leftist US Politics”.

  6. There’s a tech exodus brewing, and the signs are getting clearer now. Twitter and Facebook, current social media giants are going to lose audience and relevance VERY fast once the preference cascade hits. Google depends entirely on ads, an that industry is currently saturated and about to start drying up (based both on results and the economic environment).

    Fifteen years ago no one expected Microsoft to stop making the top operating system… change is coming and it will be fascinating to watch.

    • To an extent, I don’t know why this hasn’t already happened. I don’t know why Donald Trump doesn’t find a Twitter competitor, move his account over there, and take his 80 million followers with him.

      • I have a nice answer and a not so nice answer, but it’s obviously the thing to do. What he writes would be reported if he scrawled it on a wall in a back alley in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico.

        • Mrs. OB and I drove through T or C a couple of summers ago. Delightful. I expected a statue of Bob Barker but the town named itself after T or C in its pre-TV incarnation as a radio show, I believe.

      • It would seem this is already happening. Pro-Trump accounts are moving to an app called Parler, according to a report in Newsweek.

        (I don’t know how to link things, or quote people. I am a total WordPress loser.)

  7. Maybe it is not as nefarious as we think. I wonder if it was the appending of the YouTube video without proper permission from the owners of the song/video. I follow a music producer named Rick Beatto. He does YouTube videos about all kinds of music related things. For instance, “what makes this song great?” or “top 20 drum sounds.”, etc. They are very well done and informative. He has problems with lots of artists who block his videos if he uses their songs without permission. The Eagles, Led Zeppelin, the Beatles are among the many who do that. So, perhaps the owners of that song have some algorithm that scans the web for use of that song and they issue orders to take it down. Reddit simply complies but has a boilerplate statement about the post’s removal that doesn’t really tell the poster anything about why it was removed.


  8. Did Michael try posting it on other sub-reddits like r/conservative or r/Republican? Of course EA should be able to go in r/politics but in reality that sub is more like r/leftpolitics.

  9. Originally I thought it might be your use of the term “Wuhan virus” that caused the post to be removed, but after reading the subreddit rules I think it was because linking to blog posts is not allowed, unless it is from a “reputable news outlet”.

    • Thanks. Of course, I’m not going to modify what I want to post to please reddit. What an idiotic rule, though. Obviously lots of subreddits don’t have that rule (since I get many readers from reddit), and I’d love to know what a “reputable” blog is, if EA isn’t.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.