A Question, but sort of a rant: My New Thoughts of Being Apolitical

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A Question, but sort of a rant: My New Thoughts of Being Apolitical

Post by jamiehood » Tue Jan 16, 12:25 2018

So, as I may have mentioned a while ago, my school is very left-leaning, and there's no problem with that, as I'm a leftist myself. But I have some non-mainstream opinions, and have gotten into fights about them online. If someone is attacking me, I just try to be as polite as possible, listen to their opinions, and explain mine, as I love having discussions and dialogue. I almost ruined a friendship over what was seemingly a small issue. But over the years, I've grown, and learned from my mistakes when I have said a genuinely mean thing. I feel awful, apologize, and try to reflect and learn for the future. I'm almost 15 now, and it seems everything is going all right.

So, earlier this school year, I became aware of a prominent commentator who had plans to dox people online for having said things they disagreed with, including minors and kids. They had plans to have a screenshot of everything people had said with their full name, address, work location, and school. I became incredibly worried that I would begin to become ostracized at school for having uncommon opinions. This was my tragic realization: People don't care how much you have learned and grown. If you say one bad thing, your life is ruined. It was now when I pondered potentially trying to eliminate all politics from my life. I thought being apolitical would be helpful. But my school is a very political environment, with ideals constantly being shoved down your throat. And everyone I talked to, on the Left and the Right told me if I stopped fighting for what I believed was the right thing to do, and arguing for my beliefs, it shows a loss of hope and giving up.

I don't know what to do now: should I delete all of my political comments, and stay apolitical?

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Re: A Question, but sort of a rant: My New Thoughts of Being Apolitical

Post by rowan » Tue Jan 16, 13:43 2018

I suppose you could try reporting the doxxing, though I find people/police are not very helpful. perhaps as a minor there'd be more response though. maybe. probably not.

But to your actual question, here is my old person perspective:
For years and years I was told by older women in my very male-dominated field that if I just kept my head down and didn't rock the boat, when I finally got to tenure and had some power I could try to change things. I'm here to say that is fucking bullshit and I see younger people pushing the field without that security and it's actually making changes unlike my generation. Young people are actually changing things, at a younger age, than my generation. We bought the lie. Don't buy the lie.

THAT SAID your safety is 100% important and if you really feel unsafe then that's your choice and don't let anyone tell you that protecting yourself is "wrong" for any reason.
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Re: A Question, but sort of a rant: My New Thoughts of Being Apolitical

Post by jamiehood » Tue Jan 16, 13:57 2018

rowan wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 13:43 2018
I suppose you could try reporting the doxxing, though I find people/police are not very helpful. perhaps as a minor there'd be more response though. maybe. probably not.

But to your actual question, here is my old person perspective:
For years and years I was told by older women in my very male-dominated field that if I just kept my head down and didn't rock the boat, when I finally got to tenure and had some power I could try to change things. I'm here to say that is fucking bullshit and I see younger people pushing the field without that security and it's actually making changes unlike my generation. Young people are actually changing things, at a younger age, than my generation. We bought the lie. Don't buy the lie.

THAT SAID your safety is 100% important and if you really feel unsafe then that's your choice and don't let anyone tell you that protecting yourself is "wrong" for any reason.
Ok, thank you very much. I'm thinking about getting rid of my political stuff, but I want to talk to people about it first, both on here, and in real life. Thank goodness the doxing was stopped, by both liberals and conservatives coming together. The main thing I want is social safety. I know people whom I disagree with, but we still manage to have discussions, and I just don't want to hurt myself or anyone else. At least that's true for some people. So I have to keep pondering this, and trying to see if I can still manage to remain on good terms with my friends while still retaining my opinions. If not, I guess I probably have to keep my head down, or I'll end up with no friends. But still, I just have to think about this good and hard, and hopefully get a lot of friends' advice, both here and in real life. Then I can make my decision. I've already been pondering for months creating my first YouTube video, a sort of apology, for anyone who I may have offended on YouTube. But I don't really want to show my face, because I'm scared, so I'm still trying to figure that out, too... I guess I can just hope the answers will come soon...

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Re: A Question, but sort of a rant: My New Thoughts of Being Apolitical

Post by Sonic# » Tue Jan 16, 14:03 2018

I don't think withdrawing from political discussions is a solution.

First, I'll point out that doxing is a silencing tactic. It is designed to make people afraid to speak out or engage in public dialogue. This silence can happen in several ways. For prominent feminists who were doxxed over the last few years, the issue wasn't necessarily that they would be fired or ostracized, but that some online zealots would use the information to harass them, pose in front of their house, and make threatening phone calls and e-mails. Rowan is right - safety is 100% important, and that includes deciding for yourself how public you want to be with your comments.

The threat of doxxing also shifts your perspective of audience. You're no longer worrying about people around you, but about people who "don't care how much you have learned and grown." People are an impossibly daunting audience. You will never make everyone happy. Rather than thinking of other people in this sum-total kind of way, think in terms of relationships with other people and groups: the forums you go to, the friends you have, the organizations you are a part of, and the communities you are in. You may not always agree with other people on everything (and vice versa), but I think you can be generally respective of these other stakeholders when you state your opinion. If you aren't namecalling, if you're not calling for harm onto other people, if you make an effort to listen and learn others' names, and if you can admit when you do make a mistake, they will often accept that you're learning and growing. Haters will be haters; these audiences are worth continuing to engage in. That's the best way you have to continue to learn and grow.

Finally, your speech will always have a place. I remember in school there was this notion of the "permanent record" that would always follow me around. That hasn't happened - colleges care more about your activities and GPA than that thing you said in class when you were 12. Employers may surreptitiously Google your name whether or not they're legally allowed to, but if a doxer tries to infect those results, there are ways to optimize the results with your own content instead. I also wouldn't underestimate either the good will of other people (who may also have embarrassing stories of being a teenager and saying things they now disagree with) or the apathy of most people towards finding out what one puny commentator said about what you said. Speaking up usually does more good (in the long term) and the consequences of speaking up (the "lie") are overstated because it's more convenient to people in power when you stay quiet.

Finally finally, as for your classmates right now, I can only say that I was also outspoken, I also sometimes experienced difficulty for it, and it did get better. (Whew, high school was not my favorite though.

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Re: A Question, but sort of a rant: My New Thoughts of Being Apolitical

Post by jamiehood » Tue Jan 16, 14:26 2018

Sonic# wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 14:03 2018
I don't think withdrawing from political discussions is a solution.

First, I'll point out that doxing is a silencing tactic. It is designed to make people afraid to speak out or engage in public dialogue. This silence can happen in several ways. For prominent feminists who were doxxed over the last few years, the issue wasn't necessarily that they would be fired or ostracized, but that some online zealots would use the information to harass them, pose in front of their house, and make threatening phone calls and e-mails. Rowan is right - safety is 100% important, and that includes deciding for yourself how public you want to be with your comments.

The threat of doxxing also shifts your perspective of audience. You're no longer worrying about people around you, but about people who "don't care how much you have learned and grown." People are an impossibly daunting audience. You will never make everyone happy. Rather than thinking of other people in this sum-total kind of way, think in terms of relationships with other people and groups: the forums you go to, the friends you have, the organizations you are a part of, and the communities you are in. You may not always agree with other people on everything (and vice versa), but I think you can be generally respective of these other stakeholders when you state your opinion. If you aren't namecalling, if you're not calling for harm onto other people, if you make an effort to listen and learn others' names, and if you can admit when you do make a mistake, they will often accept that you're learning and growing. Haters will be haters; these audiences are worth continuing to engage in. That's the best way you have to continue to learn and grow.

Finally, your speech will always have a place. I remember in school there was this notion of the "permanent record" that would always follow me around. That hasn't happened - colleges care more about your activities and GPA than that thing you said in class when you were 12. Employers may surreptitiously Google your name whether or not they're legally allowed to, but if a doxer tries to infect those results, there are ways to optimize the results with your own content instead. I also wouldn't underestimate either the good will of other people (who may also have embarrassing stories of being a teenager and saying things they now disagree with) or the apathy of most people towards finding out what one puny commentator said about what you said. Speaking up usually does more good (in the long term) and the consequences of speaking up (the "lie") are overstated because it's more convenient to people in power when you stay quiet.

Finally finally, as for your classmates right now, I can only say that I was also outspoken, I also sometimes experienced difficulty for it, and it did get better. (Whew, high school was not my favorite though.
Ok, thank you very much. That makes me feel a lot better.. My school is full of radical leftists, and I'm just more moderate, and closer to the center, but people don't always understand. Some do, but not all. I just want us all to be happy. I like Politics, but people, family, and friends are always my main worry. I don't want anyone to judge me because of what I've said... but this was also sparked again by someone saying they wouldn't be friends with anyone who disagrees with them. You're right. I have to look at the big picture, and focus on the positives. I won't get anything done by being a pessimist... I have to encourage people to look deeper, and not just at me for my superficial labels..I've been trying to be an ally for diversity groups and stuff like that, so I guess that helps as well, with people who already know me for who I am, someone who tries to be tolerant even if he doesn't quite understand... I guess, though, I have to concentrate on those who will always love me no matter what, and be happy. That's what my mom would have wanted. She was always such a fiery optimist, and I know she would want the same thing for her son. So I have to stick to what she would have done!

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Re: A Question, but sort of a rant: My New Thoughts of Being Apolitical

Post by Plotthickens » Tue Jan 16, 19:25 2018

When you come from a very radical place, sometimes you have to agree with the things you can and clam up about the things you can't. Ask the Democrats in the Bible Belt.

When someone starts talking about threatening/doxxing people, I start recording THEIR information. Get screenshots and write down the details. Then when I get death threats I have evidence and motive. Also, you may want to look into increasing your online security. Invest $1 a month in LastPass and install it on all your devices, hide your IP address, delete Facebook, install Ghostery on Firefox, etc. This is kind of the equivalent of putting a lock on your front door and closing the windows when you leave. :)
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Re: A Question, but sort of a rant: My New Thoughts of Being Apolitical

Post by Aum » Tue Jan 16, 19:50 2018

In some districts doxxing is illegal and if it's a person in authority at your school doing it, I would take your complaint straight to the dean or whoever's at the top. Most schools have a harassment policy and doxxing certainly falls under that because it compromises a person's sense of safety and privacy.

That said... are you really attached to using your real identity online? Is it important to you to have yourself identified with your opinions? Because it's not that hard to have anonymity from that kind of troll. Don't use your real name or identifying info. If you see them coming then you can also block them and they'll never see your content in the first place. The most they can do is re-post your stuff but nobody will know who it is. If it's unidentifiable then the doxxer could even be accused of making it up.

I don't think you necessarily need to have your name beside what you write or say in order for it to cause change. Think about this forum, as an example. We post here all the time but who knows who ends up reading it? Maybe something that's said which we may find trivial has had a significant impact on others... yet nobody knows my name, address, anything.
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Re: A Question, but sort of a rant: My New Thoughts of Being Apolitical

Post by SimpleMan » Wed Jan 17, 8:42 2018

Aum wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 19:50 2018
That said... are you really attached to using your real identity online? Is it important to you to have yourself identified with your opinions? Because it's not that hard to have anonymity from that kind of troll. Don't use your real name or identifying info. If you see them coming then you can also block them and they'll never see your content in the first place. The most they can do is re-post your stuff but nobody will know who it is. If it's unidentifiable then the doxxer could even be accused of making it up...
Somehow this line makes me think that you don't really know what doxin is...

So this is what I understand about it...

People use anonymity, fake names and all the stuff you say here... but other people will find out the real name behind the fake names, and then will, expose and link the comments made anonymously to the real name of the person...

Usually this will be done in a big group of people, lest say tweeter... so then you will have tens thousands of "activists" contacting your family and your employers to basically harass them until you have not friends and not job.

I am explaining this because I think you are seriously misunderstanding what nightmare this can be.

Understand that the techniques behind doxin are very broad.... some will use social engineering, some will use computer skills, some will use whatever it is...

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Re: A Question, but sort of a rant: My New Thoughts of Being Apolitical

Post by SimpleMan » Wed Jan 17, 9:37 2018

@jamiehood

Hi,

I am one of the people that is actually doing this withdrawing or giving up...

At the end you gotta do what you think is the right thing... and there is other people in here that have made a very compelling case for not giving up... So I think I should just do my contribution, to standing for the option on giving up.. so at least you get a more better understanding of the whole range of options...

Because in some cases giving up is actually the best option... at least on my opinion...

For instance, a very important question is if the point even really matters...

I give you an example, there is this debate between science and the bible, where the bible claims that the universe is about 6k years old and the science claims that our planet alone is several millions old... for what it is is, I agree with science... but... I also understand that this debate does not matter at all... One way or another my life still pretty much the same, I am the same fat guy, that is a bit nerd and so on and go on.... for all practical reasons, none of the points on this science Vs Bible debate have any influence in my day to day life... so as It doesn't really matter, I am way less inclined to stand for any of it with passion... specially if for someone in the debate such things matter a lot for others...

So asking if it even matters is always a good indicative to help you decide if you even want to engage in the debate...

Other good question to ask is... "what is the risk?".... as you are asking this question in the OP... it looks like you are taking a big risk by making your opinions public... this is just another application of that benefit/risk analysis that I talked about... You have to measure what is your benefit, and what is your risk... then kind of decide if it is even worth it.

Probably you find out that engaging in some debates is actually a very bad idea.

In my personal case I have found out that I actually look more pretty when I keep my mouth shut.

Also no having opinions is way more easy... Insert here video of Hakuna Matata... for instance this is some topics I have not opinion at all:

Abortion, gay marriage, sports, the military...

So for instance, abortion... I am not against or in support of it, I see it like something I personally never will have to deal with... as I will never find myself having to make such decision... so I don't even consider what would I do if I find myself in such situation... So whatever other people want to do about their pregnancies, that have nothing to do with me... I kind of think that it is a nice thing to do to host the fetus so eventually there can be a person there... but being nice is mostly a personal decision too... nobody have to be nice... and the argument that if my mom believe in it then I would no be here... it is true, but it is also up for debate if she was right or wrong in not believing in abortion... I am sure a compelling case can be made in how better off this world would be, if I am not in it... But that is pretty much it... no my problem, so no opinions on it...

Another question you can ask is... what effect your engagement in the conversation would have?

as in the OP you talk about the risk of expressing your opinions.... then you need also to ask... what is the benefit in doing so... what do you gain? what is your goal? what do you hope to archive by engaging in the "conversation"?

For instance, if you are trying to fix a problem... good questions are... can it be fixed? can you fix it? is it your responsibility to fix it? does it really need to be fixed? what it will cost you to fix it? how good is the solution? is it better than the problem? do other people think it is broken or they think it is fine the way it is?

About this last question... it is a very important one, To give you an example, one time I witness this exchange between an MRA and a feminist:

MRA: Men are suffering.
Feminist: They are not suffering enough.

WItch gave me a lot to think about... but this is not only a position adopted by this feminist... many people do this kinds of things... for instance a christian told me that New Orleans tragedy was a punishment of god because they have weird religions in New Orleans... I have seeing a lot of this kind of arguments. So this last question there is a very important one... maybe you perceive a problem, but other people think it is perfectly fine, even morally right state of things, they will not even consider there is a problem at all... in those special occasions... the best is definitely to give up.

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Re: A Question, but sort of a rant: My New Thoughts of Being Apolitical

Post by Skeezy » Wed Jan 17, 13:51 2018

SimpleMan wrote:
Wed Jan 17, 9:37 2018
@jamiehood

Hi,

I am one of the people that is actually doing this withdrawing or giving up...

At the end you gotta do what you think is the right thing... and there is other people in here that have made a very compelling case for not giving up... So I think I should just do my contribution, to standing for the option on giving up.. so at least you get a more better understanding of the whole range of options...

Because in some cases giving up is actually the best option... at least on my opinion...

For instance, a very important question is if the point even really matters...

I give you an example, there is this debate between science and the bible, where the bible claims that the universe is about 6k years old and the science claims that our planet alone is several millions old... for what it is is, I agree with science... but... I also understand that this debate does not matter at all... One way or another my life still pretty much the same, I am the same fat guy, that is a bit nerd and so on and go on.... for all practical reasons, none of the points on this science Vs Bible debate have any influence in my day to day life... so as It doesn't really matter, I am way less inclined to stand for any of it with passion... specially if for someone in the debate such things matter a lot for others...

So asking if it even matters is always a good indicative to help you decide if you even want to engage in the debate...

Thats what I did, debating with flat earthers. I just cant lol

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Re: A Question, but sort of a rant: My New Thoughts of Being Apolitical

Post by melsbells » Wed Jan 17, 15:24 2018

I think it's tricky to balance keeping yourself safe and speaking out where you can. On top of that, lots of scientific studies have shown that people who's brains are still developing fairly quickly (people your age) are still not very good at risk assessment. Try to be honest about what your fears of speaking out are and how likely and how bad the outcomes in the scenarios your imagining are.

I also don't believe it's possible for a person to be apolitical. You have opinions. Even your silence can convey that.

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Re: A Question, but sort of a rant: My New Thoughts of Being Apolitical

Post by geldofc » Wed Jan 17, 20:09 2018

I never spoke about my politics at your age. But being totally reserved wasn't helpful. The sooner you start, the more experience you'll gain and the less room for error by the time you're my age. Arguments like that can help with your ability to withstand intimacy and help you grow. And saying one bad thing doesn't mean life is ruined. Many well liked people say ridiculous and crappy things all the time. IMO it's wise to be leery of platforms like YouTube until you're positive of your strength and it's good to just be aware of dangers instead of paranoid. There are creepy people in the world, looking to control and target (insert discriminated against group based on gender, race, class, sexuality, etc) people.
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Re: A Question, but sort of a rant: My New Thoughts of Being Apolitical

Post by Aum » Thu Jan 18, 17:21 2018

SimpleMan wrote:
Wed Jan 17, 8:42 2018
Aum wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 19:50 2018
That said... are you really attached to using your real identity online? Is it important to you to have yourself identified with your opinions? Because it's not that hard to have anonymity from that kind of troll. Don't use your real name or identifying info. If you see them coming then you can also block them and they'll never see your content in the first place. The most they can do is re-post your stuff but nobody will know who it is. If it's unidentifiable then the doxxer could even be accused of making it up...
Somehow this line makes me think that you don't really know what doxin is...

So this is what I understand about it...

People use anonymity, fake names and all the stuff you say here... but other people will find out the real name behind the fake names, and then will, expose and link the comments made anonymously to the real name of the person...

Usually this will be done in a big group of people, lest say tweeter... so then you will have tens thousands of "activists" contacting your family and your employers to basically harass them until you have not friends and not job.

I am explaining this because I think you are seriously misunderstanding what nightmare this can be.

Understand that the techniques behind doxin are very broad.... some will use social engineering, some will use computer skills, some will use whatever it is...
I was responding to the context of the OP's situation and not the general definition of doxxing. Thanks for the mansplaining though.
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Re: A Question, but sort of a rant: My New Thoughts of Being Apolitical

Post by Plotthickens » Fri Jan 19, 9:27 2018

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Re: A Question, but sort of a rant: My New Thoughts of Being Apolitical

Post by Enigma » Sat Jan 20, 10:21 2018

When I was in high school I was a bit of a political loudmouth. I mean I would (respectfully) debate that shit anywhere and everywhere I could. This was around the time Bush started a bunch of wars based on reasons we all knew were garbage and which later turned out to be in fact garbage so there was definately sympathy in my suburban canadian high school but I also probably alienated some people. I think though that I made as many friends as I lost and the ones I made were way more interesting. That said read the situation. If it's dangerous to express your opinion or you really will be the only one ever in a room with that opinion you should probably be more cautious. I definitely keep my mouth shut more often (although not always) these days.

I am also now super curious about how uncommon your uncommon opinions are though. lol
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