‘An idiocy of immeasurable power’

At Lawyers Guns & Money, SEK highlights one of the more atrocious moments from the vice presidential debate:

The one thing you don’t address — the one you know better than to pursue — the one that must be avoided at all costs — the one that must not even be mentioned in a debate with Joe Biden is a tragic car accident. The attempt to elicit sympathy for Romney by anecdotal proxy is a poor enough of a play. The decision to do so via an anecdote about a tragic car accident in a debate with Joe Biden means you’re either a sociopath or possessed of an idiocy of immeasurable power.

* * * * * * * * *

Farhad Manjoo has a righteous screed against website pagination: “Stop Pagination Now

Pagination is one of the worst design and usability sins on the Web, the kind of obvious no-no that should have gone out with blinky text, dancing cat animations, and autoplaying music. It shows constant, quiet contempt for people who should be any news site’s highest priority — folks who want to read articles all the way to the end.

Pagination persists because splitting a single-page article into two pages can, in theory, yield twice as many opportunities to display ads — though in practice it doesn’t because lots of readers never bother to click past the first page. …

When Gannett switch to a click-chasing template that split even the shortest articles into multiple pages, we called it the “F–k the Capricorns” rule. Even the daily horoscope was split into multiple pages on the paper’s site — with the first 11 horoscopes on the first page and the 12th, all by itself, on page 2.

* * * * * * * * *

Walmart, the world’s largest private employer, is facing what looks to be a growing wave of strikes. What’s most interesting here is that Walmart is — quite famously — not a unionized company. The current state of American labor law makes unionizing worksites at a company like Walmart extraordinarily difficult, and the political outlook for major revision to the relevant laws is extremely poor. So the question of whether it’s possible for workers to effectively organize themselves and engage in industrial action outside the context of the formal legal framework that governs collective bargaining in the United States is a very important one. Legislative change has often been seen as the key to a revival of labor activism in the United States, but obviously unions didn’t become influential in the first place because of a friendly political climate — like any new social movement they became powerful despite the hostile political climate and then thanks to their growing power were temporarily able to create a friendly climate.

— Matt Yglesias, “The spreading wave of Walmart strikes

* * * * * * * * *

• At some basic level, it’s puzzling: Others are happy; therefore we must be furious, indignant and un-happy. Why? It seems like some kind of instinctive attempt to preserve a constant level of misery in the world.

“Rejoice with those who rejoice” is a biblical commandment, remember. It’s also good advice, for your own sake.

Even if the pots are already clean and you’re just posing for a cynical photo-op, you should still take your watch off.

• The Public Religion Research Institute finds that: “A slim majority (53 percent) of Americans favor tougher laws and regulations to protect the environment even if it raises prices or costs jobs.”

Which is to say that a majority of Americans favors tougher environmental protections even if PRRI decides to frame the question using the most corporate-friendly, Frank Luntz-concocted jobs-vs.-environment hogwash phrasing.

• I’m pleased I finally got the chance to work with Amy Poehler. You can too.

• “Violentacrez,” the creepy old man of Reddit’s “Jailbait” forums, is outed on Gawker by Adrian Chen.

Once his identity became public, Chen reports in a follow-up, Michael Brutsch was fired by his employer: “Since 2004, Brutsch has worked as a programmer at the Arlington, Tex., company First Cash Financial Services, which offers payday loans and operates pawn shops.”

Yes, Brutsch is that sleazy — so skin-crawlingly awful that he got fired by a payday lender worried that being associated with him might damage its reputation.

• “Let’s meet at the same table, with the same host, to remember the same things.” Election Day Communion, Nov. 6, 2012.

Interesting. Seems cool, although the language at the link seems so eager to rise above the fray that it seems to look down on it. That’s troublesome, because the fray is pretty darned important.

• The Atlantic Wind Connection, “a massive transmission backbone along the Eastern seaboard connected to a series of offshore wind farms,” could create more than 70,000 jobs.

But it probably won’t get built, because American energy is still controlled by the worst minds of the early 20th century. “Drill, baby, drill” is why our supposedly “exceptional” nation still has the same number of offshore wind farms as landlocked and impoverished Malawi.

• “According to the Innocence Project, Damon Thibodeaux is the 300th person to be exonerated of a wrongful conviction by DNA evidence in the United States.”

This is both a triumphant milestone and an appalling one. That these 300 people have been exonerated is a Good Thing. That they were all wrongly convicted is a Very Bad Thing.

Damon Thibodeaux was on death row. He spent 15 years behind bars for something he did not do.

And that means, of course, that whoever did murder his cousin has been free — unpunished, unstopped, unpursued and unperturbed — for 15 yeears.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/daniel.steckly Daniel L Steckly

    I never knew before today about Joe Biden’s life being changed, some might argue defined, by a car accident. We all knew that Ryan is crass and stupid, but this is a new low.

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ mistformsquirrel

     Me either; I had to look it up on Wikipedia.  That’s… wow.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     Yeah. Soon as I heard it, I turned to my wife and said “There. This is the moment Paul Ryan lost this debate.” (Of course, the media has moved all the way to “The debate was technically a tie, but Ryan certainly looked better while Biden merely kept the Obama campaign from tanking” from the initial reports of “Joe Biden just beat the crap out of Paul Ryan”)

    My best guess, and it’s not a flattering one, is that Ryan was throwing a hail mary, and missed: that he hoped to get Biden *angry* so that Biden would come off the rails while Ryan could claim he was just trying to tell a heartwarming anecdote about how kind and charitable Romney is.  Biden, of course, did not take the bait, and instead just made it very clear to the audience exactly what Ryan was doing.

  • http://heathencritique.wordpress.com/ Ruby_Tea

    My best guess, and it’s not a flattering one, is that Ryan was throwing a hail mary, and missed: that he hoped to get Biden *angry* so that Biden would come off the rails while Ryan could claim he was just trying to tell a heartwarming anecdote about how kind and charitable Romney is. Biden, of course, did not take the bait, and instead just made it very clear to the audience exactly what Ryan was doing.

    I’m pretty sure that’s what it was.  The Republicans were hoping (and, no doubt, praying) that Biden’s foot-in-mouth-itis would flare up, and if they could help bring it about, then awesome.*

    Biden could not have possibly handled the situation better–indeed, he made Romney look worse after the story–this is a guy who will help out one family, but refuses to use all the power he has to assist millions of families.

    With great power comes great responsibility, indeed.

    *It doesn’t help that neither Romney nor Ryan has Bill Clinton’s knack for storytelling.  They just sound rehearsed.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    *It doesn’t help that neither Romney nor Ryan has Bill Clinton’s knack for storytelling.  They just sound rehearsed.

    Does anyone have Clinton’s knack for storytelling? If more people had the charisma of Clinton it would break some law of physics.

  • Rupaul

    Wind farms offshore? Sounds like we need to elect an expert in offshoring!

  • Figs

    My wife and I both exclaimed when that moment in the debate happened. “What could Ryan and his people possibly have been thinking?” we asked. Were they trying to throw him off his game? Were they thinking that it would get him to mention his story and that somehow people had tired of it or something? It’s absolutely unfathomable.

  • MikeJ

    Funny that they fuck the Capricorns, given that that’s Jesus’ sign (as celebrated, overlooking the whole actually born in the spring thing.)

  • Jenora Feuer

     Also overlooking the whole precession of the equinoxes thing, which says that over 2000 years the entire sky should have shifted by roughly one zodiacal sign.  (Which is the source of the whole ‘Age of Aquarius’ nonsense.)

  • The_L1985

     You have to admit, though, it’s a catchy song.

    Leeeeeeet the sun shiiiine,
    Leeeeeeet the sun shine in, the suuuuuuun shine iiiiiin…

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     That’s a different song. Even when the Fifth Dimension slams them together to make a single out of them.

  • EllieMurasaki

    And even when we’re singing the right song…which house a given celestial object is in changes every two hours. That rather undermines the apparent point of the song.

  • Jenora Feuer

    Well, no; since the zodiac is based on fixed stars in the sky, most celestial objects aren’t going to be changing signs all that quickly.  Now, the whole ‘rising’ and ‘setting’ is a different matter, those do change quickly, which is why some people insist that astrology requires knowing the exact time of birth.

    In any case, the celestial object in question for the ‘Age of Aquarius’ is the position of the vernal equinox.  That only makes a full cycle every 26,000 years or so thanks to the earth’s slight wobble on its axis, so the ages only change every 2000 years and change.  Granted, the number of people who used to go on about the Age of Aquarius who actually knew that was probably a small fraction of the number of people singing that song.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Over the course of a day, everything in the sky goes through all twelve houses.

  • Jenora Feuer

    Okay, you’re right, I was reading the wrong words.  Houses are positions in the sky based off the horizon, as opposed to the signs I was talking about.  Which means that your comment was based on ‘the moon is in the seventh house’ line, which yes, not only changes every couple of hours, but would be at different absolute times at different points on the planet.

    So, yes, most of the song really qualifies as ‘deepities’, to use Dennett’s term: something that sounds profound while meaning nothing.

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    They’d screw over whoever’s last. Personally, my take would be to have a zodiac opening page with each sign on its own separate page, which you could get to by clicking the appropriate star sign. Does anybody read more than one? (Yeah, star signs are crap but people *LOVE* it)

  • Jessica_R

    Yeah, the “election day communion” smacks to much of tone argument to me. Anybody who wants to cluck their tongue at me for getting upset at “forcible rape,” “legitimate rape,” “women who use The Pill are sluts,” and on and on can have a nice steaming cup of shut the fuck up. 

  • Victor

    See what your started Fred!

    I hear ya Fred! Hey Victor, I just call “IT” the way “I” see “IT” and let my fans take “IT” from there! Besides “IT” is my blog and if you don’t like “Free Speach” then stay away! :)


    You can’t make this stuff up, folks! Can you?


  • http://twitter.com/jclor jclor

    Almost as egregious as Michael Brutsch’s sins have been the reactions of many Reddit mods: to ban the posting of links to Gawker sites.  

    They claim to be doing so because Brutsch’s outing was a breach of Reddit’s terms of service … despite the fact that Reddit’s TOS don’t extend to other Web sites.  

    So, Reddit—self-proclaimed champion of Internet freedom of speech (hence Brutsch’s ability to post photos of underage girls, without their consent, anonymously and with impunity)— is censoring its own members for something that was written by a non-member on another Web site.

    You can’t make this stuff up, folks.

  • Morilore

    The leaks from the mod forums on Reddit make it very clear that they are having the same “close the ranks, circle the wagons!” response that Penn State had, that the Roman Catholic Church has… They’re talking about having a media campaign to “reframe the discussion” around their supposed inability to operate without privacy, instead of, you know, the fact that they have forums dedicated to violating other people’s privacy.

  • hidden_urchin

    …instead of, you know, the fact that they have forums dedicated to violating other people’s privacy.

    Yeah, it’s interesting that a woman who goes out in public does not have the right to expect that some creeper won’t post her photo on the web but that same creeper can post on a public site and have the right to expect anonymity.  Double standards much?

  • VMink

    “Reframe the discussion” is no longer an even vaguely effective weasel-phrase.

    Honestly, I have little sympathy for trolls, but they do at this time have the right to be assholes, even though they’re assholes anonymously and the ability to be anonymous just enables them.  But it sounds like this douchenozzle got into trouble for his honest to gods totes legal guys no reallies! pictures of scantily-dressed underage girls.  (Note to Reddit moderators: Oh, yeah, really great thing to hang your shield on, Reddit moderators.  Total brainiac move there.)  Ergo: Even less sympathy.

    But even without that: I respect the need for anonymity on the Internet.  Without anon.penet.fi, the corruption and irrationality of the Church of Scientology probably would not have become as well-known.  Anonymous speech allows people to speak truth to power without fear.  Anonymous sources and whistleblowers have brought to light many great injustices.

    Pics of 15-year-olds in bikinis is not ‘truth’ and posting them for the fapping of horny guys is not ‘speaking truth to power.’   And being an asshole to people is not ‘speaking truth to power’ nor is it ‘challenging their beliefs.’  At best, you’re being an asshole.   At worst, you’re being a coward hiding behind anonymity that people in the world desperately need to do real opposition to injustice.  If you think that your right to be an asshole, and your right to post racy pictures of underage girls, is equal to sticking it to the System in Russia, Syria, Egypt, Nicaragua, or Cuba, then I would suggest that your entitled privileged priorities are bloody well out of whack and need an adjustment.

    It reminds me of the “Bungle Affair,” many years ago on LambdaMOO.  Here is an article about it.  (CN: rape and (virtual) violence.)    Some of the concepts in the article are a little outdated, especially the viewing of virtual worlds in quite the way that MU*s did.  (It’s kind of ironic and interesting — as ‘virtual worlds’ have become more visual and ‘realistic,’ there’s been an increasing disconnect with them; they don’t seem to be as ‘real’ as the old text-based MU*s seemed to be.)  But there are interesting discussions in it surrounding the affair, though most of the article is not about the affair itself so much as the periphera.

    The point being, Bungle was a jackwagon, one of the first trolls, and like all trolls, it’s all fun and games until they face the consequences of being a jackwagon.  Then it’s all high-concept rationalization and justification and FREEEEEEEDOMMMM! and suddenly the troll and his supporters are trying to make themselves out to be friggin’ Braveheart.

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    The Reddit people aren’t really fighting for privacy, though. They’re fighting for THEIR OWN privacy, and by hanging their argument on a guy who posts nonconsensual perv shots, their explicit argument boils down to “The only good privacy is OUR privacy”.

  • http://twitter.com/shutsumon Becka Sutton

     And the BBC and a bunch of other organisations it seems.

  • Dan Audy

    Almost as egregious as Michael Brutsch’s sins have been the reactions of many Reddit mods: to ban the posting of links to Gawker sites.  
    They claim to be doing so because Brutsch’s outing was a breach of Reddit’s terms of service … despite the fact that Reddit’s TOS don’t extend to other Web sites.  
    So, Reddit—self-proclaimed champion of Internet freedom of speech (hence Brutsch’s ability to post photos of underage girls, without their consent, anonymously and with impunity)— is censoring its own members for something that was written by a non-member on another Web site.

    Honestly, I actually am completely ok with Reddit banning posting of links to Gawker even though it is pointless and childish.  Those link to content which violates their TOS* and they’ve got every right to control the type of speech they allow on their service even when it highlights their hypocrisy.  People always talk about how the right response to free speech you don’t like (doxxing Violentacrez) is more free speech (blocking all Gawker links from one of the major traffic drivers for Gawker and the internet as a whole).  Reddit is foolish to do so because it drives the Streissand effect and makes them hypocrites but they are responding the way we always say people ought to rather than trying to sue someone who says something they dislike or lobby for laws to restrict speech they don’t like.  

    *The Predditor Tumblr which actually doxxed Brutsch (and many others) did indeed violate Reddit’s TOS to do so but Adrian Chen was completely (in the legal) right basing his reporting on the issue despite that in the same way journalists rely on leakers violating company agreements and criminals providing sources.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I don’t think blocking Gawker links on Reddit is free speech. I think it’s ineffective censorship. ‘More speech’ here would be saying and encouraging people to say that Gawker sucks, that the fuckwads are perfectly within their rights, etc etc so forth.

  • Madhabmatics

     If saying “fuck no you can’t post pictures of dead, prepubescent women and encourage people to masturbate to it anonymously” is censorship, then sign me the hell up for censorship.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Where did I say anything about objecting to censoring the fuckwads?

  • Madhabmatics

    Nowhere, I replied to your post out of an immediate sense of camaraderie and agreement, sorry.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    If saying “fuck no you can’t post pictures of dead, prepubescent women and encourage people to masturbate to it anonymously” is censorship, then sign me the hell up for censorship.

    Another lawless opponent of freedom. Welcome!

  • http://www.facebook.com/jrandyowens Randy Owens

    So, there is something to astrology.  By knowing one is a Capricorn, you can know that they’ll be spending more time looking at horoscopes, and generate more clicks.

    Wait, I’m a Capricorn… oh, crap.

  • Jim Roberts

    The Joe Biden/car accident commercial managed to shut up the Sunday lunch I attended with my wife’s family. They were talking about how “insensitive” Ryan was and I told them the story.

  • vital_dual

    Hmm. I REALLY like the idea of Communion on Election Day. Considering how insane Election Day tends to be–the climax of a two-year buildup–Communion would be a great way to keep oneself centred on what really matters. If I was a minister (or even just lived in the US), I’d host one in the morning, before the polls opened, and then one in the evening… followed by a results party. ‘Cause those are always fun.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I suspect no small number of the people who hear ‘Communion on Election Day’ are going to not read that link, think it’s a great idea, and proceed to make it clear that if one votes that morning for a candidate who wants to feed the hungry, house the homeless, employ the jobless, take care of the ill, and not break the planet, then one isn’t allowed to take Communion that evening until one has made oneself right with Jesus.

  • ReverendRef

    That Election Day Communion thing . . . yeah, we’re doing it.  If for no other reason than to offer a different voice to the local fundagelical groups who host Romney parties at their church and withhold sacraments because you’ve voted for the wrong guy.

    I keep trying to walk the via media and offer some reasoned normalcy, but it can get a little difficult when other pastors write letters proclaiming how I’m leading people to the gates of hell.

    So we’re hosting an election day communion.  And we will invite all baptized Christians to receive the sacrament, whether you’re a Republican or Democrat, Episcopalian or Baptist.  And if standing for equality and against bigotry, hate and the tribe condemns me to hell, I suppose I’ll be in good company.

  • http://stealingcommas.blogspot.com/ chris the cynic

    I didn’t see the debate, my mother was telling me about it and mentioned Ryan bringing up a car accident and it just stopped me.  Literally stopped me.  We were walking at the time.  I was no longer moving forward after I heard that Ryan brought up a car accident.  This was not an intentional change; it just happened.

    I’ve heard of cold blooded ways to try to knock your opponent off emotional balance in a debate before, but nothing that rises to that level.

  • LL

    It’s always amusing when people complain about their privacy being “violated” online, both people who post pictures online themselves and these creepy pervs on Reddit (which I have never visited, to my knowledge). 

    In advertising, we’re always telling clients how to get the younger, “tech savvy” consumers. I always have to giggle a little bit at the “tech savvy” part. From what I can tell, the only tech savvy part of it is that they can operate the devices. But they apparently haven’t yet figured out that if you post things online, they (the things, whether they be pictures or comments) aren’t private. And they’re not private by design. “Online” is not like a phone call (the old school type phone call that goes through wires). It’s really a broadcast. You don’t know who’s going to intercept it. You can’t put bikini pictures on a website (and Facebook is essentially a website) and expect that only your friends – and not pathetic, middle-aged losers – will see them. And if you’re a pathetic, middle-aged loser, you can’t spew all kinds of disgusting shit online under an  assumed name, becoming famous for it, even, and expect to have your “privacy” respected. 

    The whole story is just full of weapons-grade stupid on pretty much everyone’s part, except for the reporter. 

  • Morilore

    The parts of Reddit that are involved with the current drama are not about younger people putting sexual images of themselves on the internet, they are the parts where people take voyeuristic photos of strangers, without asking for their permission, and then upload them to a popular website, without their permission, and then thousands of strangers masturbate to them, without asking for their permission.  In one case, a submitter was found to be a high school teacher (!) posting voyeuristic photos of his own students.

    And then one of the people in charge of all this gets his identity outed and then it’s all WAAH WAAH PRIVACY WAAH!

    (I would also like to point out that there is a whole social phenomenon of young women being begged and cajoled and enticed into exposing themselves, and then shamed and bullied for it, ([TW] va bar cebzvarag pnfr gb gur cbvag bs fhvpvqr, Tbbtyr Nznaqn Gbqq vs lbh jnag gb xabj) which makes commenting on the “intelligence” of said young women slightly problematic IMO.)

  • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

     Yeah, but the same scumbag is involved in both.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Entirely off topic, but I just got an email saying Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala got arrested, supposedly for obstructing traffic that wasn’t there, actually because they were trying to get Stein into the presidential debate. Where she ought to be because she is after all a presidential candidate who qualifies for federal matching funds. Ditto the Libertarian candidate.

    If anyone was wondering why third parties have such trouble getting support in the US, this is why.

  • EllieMurasaki
  • http://twitter.com/jclor jclor

    I’d say we should send the Unity colony ship right away, but the planet’s probably teeming with mind worms.

    /requisite Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri reference

  • VMink

    And it’s currently on GOG.com.  *snagged*

  • Liralen

    Actually, the mind worms are the good guys.  It’s the Fundamentalist faction whining about my research (the damage was not so great as they say) or the Gaians complaining about my free market policies (while they constructed bore holes that greatly contributed to global warming) that got on my nerves.  Thank goodness for my Deathspheres.

    I love that game. ;)  It’s amazing how such an old game is still politically relevant.

  • LL

    Yeah, I read the story. Sorry, I did oversimplify. Yes, some of the pictures were taken without the subjects’ permission. Those are not the ones I was referring to, I should have been more specific. I was referring to the ones that were apparently taken from people’s Facebook pages. 

    RE pictures taken in public without the subjects’ permission: you don’t have an expectation of privacy in public. So a creepy perv can take your picture. I’m honestly not sure about the legal ramifications of putting said pictures on a website. Other than the creepy teacher ones, those seem to be a legitimate concern regarding a teacher’s responsibility in the classroom. 

    Being creepy is not, to my knowledge, against the law, but I have no problem whatsoever with an employer deciding that one’s creepiness is a negative reflection on the organization (esp. if you’re a teacher) and shitcanning someone because of it. 

  • AnonaMiss

    The problem I have is that upon the guy’s name going public, people harrassed his employer into firing him.

    I’d hate to work for any pizza chain or takeout place in the guy’s area, either.

    Exposing a troll’s identity to the internet is a bad business. It’s not just tit for tat, violation of privacy for violation of privacy “see how you like it now.” Posting an upskirt of a girl is a violation, don’t get me wrong, it’s something that deserves a punch to the face; but it’s a violation that’s not going hang around her neck. Assuming identifying information wasn’t included, it won’t affect her ability to feed and clothe herself and her family. The harrassment isn’t going to follow her home. She’s not going to have to deal with pizza men at her door every half hour with 300 pizzas apiece, or phone calls threatening to rape her waking her up at 2 AM.

    Pix and dox are completely different animals in today’s troll culture.

  • EllieMurasaki

    What then would you propose as a mechanism to get whatshisface and buddies to the visceral understanding of what they did wrong? What about as a mechanism to make sure they won’t do it again?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2CUJHSQSQYTYT4DPZSKTVESYNQ B

     First off, my understanding is that yes, in some cases the women did find out that their pics had been posted online for creepy men to get off too (and apparently in one case, that a picture of their dead daughter’s body had been linked to online for extremely creepy men to get off to).  So there’s that.  And knowing that there are guys out there who are might be trying to take your pictures to post online for creepy men to get off to isn’t really knowledge that’s going to increase women’s feeling of security and well-being.

    More to the point though, any problems that Brutsch has are due to the fact he freely and willingly chose to act like a complete sleezebucket for years (not to mention giving out enough personal information that it was possible to track him down).  Whereas the women whose pictures were being posted were guilty of… being women. 

    To paraphrase a comment I read on the situation, the only reason that connecting Brutsch’s name to his behavior is hurting him is because his behavior was so very bad. 

  • hidden_urchin

    To build on your point, if the woman’s identity does get linked to the photo in some way it could absolutely ruin her life. Employers or potential employers could find it and creeps out there could use it to sexually harass her outright. Not only does this photo posting make every woman feel a little less safe, under certain conditions it could actually make the world unsafe for specific women. It isn’t just a tasteless action.

  • depizan

     Hell, even mistaken identity can lead to creepy, creepy real life shit.

    I once had a patron make a comment about some dating site (forgotten which one) and when I was puzzled tell me I was on it.  And insist that I was.  And continue insisting.

    That’s the only time I’ve ever felt unsafe at work.

  • connorboone

    Yeah, pictures can never come back to haunt a girl…  Oh, wait… http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Amanda+Todd+speaks+about+daughter+death/7384521/story.html

    The major reason that the horrible people at Reddit are so concerned about ‘doxing’ is because they are overwhelmingly privileged white males, and it’s the only thing that can possibly hurt them.

  • zzxjoanw

    The major reason that the horrible people at Reddit are so concerned about ‘doxing’ is because they are overwhelmingly privileged white males, and it’s the only thing that can possibly hurt them.

    Please don’t tar all of reddit. We aren’t all entitled jerks.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2CUJHSQSQYTYT4DPZSKTVESYNQ B

    Also I hadn’t heard that his employer was harassed into firing him.  All I’ve read just said he was fired.

    I imagine there are a lot of reasons an employer wouldn’t want an employee known to be connected with pictures of women taken without their consent being posted on the Internet as sexual material.  (Concern that he might be taking and posting pictures himself… possibly of fellow employees, for example.)

  • ohiolibrarian

     If the employer thought that some of the pics were of employees they would HAVE to fire him.  Or at least discipline him. They might get sued for sexual harassment if they were aware of his activities and did nothing.

    Also, y’all are aware that “freedom of speech” limits acts by government, right? Companies can fire you. People can express their hostility to your actions. As long as neither are acting otherwise illegally (attacking him physically or vandalizing his property), people are perfectly free to express their opinion–against him or Reddit.

  • http://vicwelle.wordpress.com victoria

    AnonaMiss, do you have a source for stating that Brutsch was fired because his employer was harassed into doing so?  From the link Fred posted, it looks as though Brutsch was the one who notified his employers that the story was going to break, the article was published on a Friday, and over the weekend he was fired.  It seems much more likely that the company found out that Brutsch used company time and materials to post questionable material and they wanted to avoid any legal liability. 

  • AnonaMiss

    No, I don’t have a source. I made an assumption based on the difference between his boss’s pre-action and re-action, and based on common post-dox procedure. On further thought, though, you’re probably right. I had been assuming he had accurately reported on the nature of the scandal to his boss, and that the boss had taken it remarkably well; but that’s not really human nature.

    I can pretty much guarantee that his employer has received some harrassment, though, and that he would have received much more if he didn’t take such swift action. Anyone who draws enough attention for someone to care enough to dig into their net presence and out them, is going to be raided when their identity comes to light. First they order pizza to the house; then they spam employers and family members with accusations of deviant behavior, invented if necessary (though of course in this case there was plenty of real deviance to go round, and it sounds like the family members were already well aware). Depending on how widely-hated they are and their life circumstances, they may also receive threatening phone calls, have their utilities disconnected, have their mail re-routed, have fake reports of domestic violence/terrorism threats called on them, etc.

    The same hate machine that comes roaring out when feminists say something the internet doesn’t like, spends the rest of its time chewing on the lives of whoever it can get its hands on. It’s certainly more violent and vitriolic when it’s got its teeth on a woman; but suggesting that having his name outed is only damaging to Brutsch’s reputation because he engaged in bad behavior while anonymous is, in my opinion, incorrect.

    If Brutsch had kept quiet and moderated his creepy subreddits in peace, I suspect the article would never have been written, and if any internet troll had stumbled across his name he would have been the target of a week of harrassment, max – and more likely, a series of virtual high-fives from the same “edgy” trolls that conduct these kinds of raids. 

    No, the impetus for the article came from his larger-than-life figure in the reddit community, which he gained not from his misogyny, but by trolling the crap out of mostly-white-males. Ultimately, the harrassment he’ll endure over the next year or so, and his unemployability for the foreseeable future, isn’t payback for the damage he’s done to women: it’s payback for all the times he’s reduced a white male to sputtering anger through a computer monitor.

  • hf

     but it’s a violation that’s not going hang around her neck.

    How the frak do you know? Say each pic independently has a one in a thousand chance to cause lasting harm. A mere 3000 photos would give us a 95% chance that it happened to someone.

    Nobody should believe that you telepathically know the reasons for this particular exposure if you can’t handle basic math.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Yes, some of the pictures were taken without the subjects’ permission. Those are not the ones I was referring to, I should have been more specific. I was referring to the ones that were apparently taken from people’s Facebook pages.

    Do you see any difference between a picture posted to Facebook for the world to see and a picture posted to Facebook for only one’s Facebook friends to see? Because I do see a difference and I would like to know into which category the pictures under discussion fall. I feel sorry for anyone who posted things publicly and didn’t realize that meant creeps could see them too, but anyone who posted things to a limited audience and then found out that those things were reposted to the public, I think they’ve got a genuine complaint.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2CUJHSQSQYTYT4DPZSKTVESYNQ B

     Dunno.  I agree that things posted publicly are, well, public, and I do see a difference between linking to publicly posted photos and posting pictures that were taken covertly. 

    Nevertheless I think that a guy posting a picture of a 14-year-old in her swimsuit  that he found on Facebook, along with sexual comments about said picture, is still creepy and inappropriate despite the fact the picture was posted publicly.

    Also — having a subreddit devoted to links to news stories with pictures of dead teenage girls (apparently called Picsofdeadjailbait)?  Creepy and inappropriate, regardless of the fact that these were pictures published publicly by the media.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I am not arguing the creep factor here. I’m arguing that someone who posts pictures publicly has no right to claim invasion of privacy when someone gets creepy on the pictures, and someone who posts pictures to a limited circle has the right to claim invasion of privacy when someone outside that circle gets creepy on the pictures.

    Members of the first group probably have grounds for a copyright claim, though. Which would be one of the few things that current US copyright law is good for.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2CUJHSQSQYTYT4DPZSKTVESYNQ B

     I agree that commenting about publicly posted pictures isn’t really an invasion of privacy — certainly not the way that posing private pictures is.  (At least, not when grown women are concerned.  When it comes to minors — yes, they should ALSO know that anything they post publicly is available for all the Internet to see, but teens aren’t necessarily widely known for always showing excellent judgment in all circumstances.)

    I think if all he’d done was moderate and participate in a forum for re-posting, making sexual comments about, and, well, wanking to publicly posted photos of adult women… well, I still think that would be rather creepy and I sure wouldn’t date the guy, but I don’t think he would have gotten anywhere near this kind of fallout.  I think it’s the fact that covertly taken pictures and pictures of minors are involved that’s provoking the outrage.

    (Also, the thing with having sex with his 19-year-old stepdaughter and — apparently — graphically describing it on the Internet.  Yes, it’s technically legal, but, ew.)

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    What I would like to know is by what logic can taking a picture up someone’s privates without their permission constitutes a “reasonable expectation of lack of privacy”?


  • http://twitter.com/jclor jclor

    For the record, Reddit has a membership in the millions and hundreds of “subreddit” sites devoted to specific topics.  It’s not unreasonable to assume that a vast majority of the membership was unaware of the existence of the forums where problematic content was being posted, and are therefore not “creepy pervs”, as you put it.

    The fact that site moderators were aware of what the minority of creepy pervs were up to and let the activity go on is most troubling.  The problem with a self-policing collective is that not everyone shares the same set of ethical standards.

    99% of the content on Reddit is mainstream internet fare: gamer humor, atheism rants, celebrity interviews, and cat photos.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-Ingram/100001718160306 Patrick Ingram

    I like pagination a lot more than keeping everything on one page. I fyou do the latter, the page loading takes half an eternity and the scrolling becomes infuriatingly sluggish. On seperate pages, it’s much faster and smoother. Of course, there is a line. The horoscopes example is ridiculous, but it’s still better than keeping a 50,000-page monster of a story on one page (I’ve seen it).

  • Persia

     Some sites give you the option to view long articles on one page, I really like that.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I am down with the option of multiple pages vs one page (and of course in such cases the default should be the first of the paginated pages), but not when the ‘view as one page’ button can only be found at the bottom of the first page alongside the ‘next page’ button, and doubly so when that’s true and the button doesn’t take you to the point in the whole-story page where the first paginated page left off. (These two things? True every time.) It is also annoying when the final page has nothing on it but the two-sentence author bio.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2CUJHSQSQYTYT4DPZSKTVESYNQ B

    Being creepy isn’t against the law in many circumstances, but this seems to me to be another example of confusing “freedom of speech” with “freedom to say whatever I want with absolutely no negative consequences whatsoever.”

    The first is guaranteed by the US Constitution,  the second exists only in fantastyland.

    Brutsch still has freedom of speech, but that’s not what he wants.  What he wants is the ability to act like an utter creep without any of the negative fallout that comes from acting like a creep — and no one is entitled to that.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jrandyowens Randy Owens

    I think it was pretty clear from LL’s last paragraph that he or she was not confusing the two at all.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2CUJHSQSQYTYT4DPZSKTVESYNQ B

     I meant that the people complaining that Brusch’s “free speech” was somehow violated are confusing the two.  I haven’t seen any comments to that effect here — but I sure have in other places around the Net (unfortunately).

  • Joshua

    Fred, your blog pages comments and the main page is designed to increase clicks to read content. At least for those of us without an account, there is no option to change that.

    Because different pages of comments do not have different URLs, when I shut my browser down and restart it it is hard to find my place again, and it is hard to continue reading comments on another machine.

    I would love an option to change that.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Possible alternative: the ‘subscribe to this post’ link at the bottom of the comments section. Put in your email, unless you’re logged in to Disqus, and you get email notifs of new comments, and sending a reply to that email posts a reply to that comment. Formatting all goes bye-bye somewhere in the intertubes, and of course it doesn’t help with comments posted before you subscribe to the post, but.

  • http://stealingcommas.blogspot.com/ chris the cynic

    Fred, your blog pages comments […] [are] designed to increase clicks to read content.

    Actually, no.  When Fred first moved here comments were all on one page by his choice.  It was switched to multiple pages at the request of the commenters.  It is designed to make the majority of the commenters content, the fact that it increases clicks is a side effect, not an intent, of the design.

    I’d like it if you could switch between the two and choose whichever you personally prefer, but apparently the system doesn’t allow the ordinary users to do that, only the person on whose blog disqus is placed is able to decide, and the decision is forced on everyone else.

    Fred chose to do what the majority of the commenters wanted him to do, which has the unfortunate side effect of sticking those who want all on one page comments clicking through multiple pages.

    As a side note that doesn’t really matter, as near as I can tell no matter how many pages of comments you click through, Fred only gets one extra pageview from those clicks.  The first click sends you to the main page at the disqus thread (reloading the page), and every time you change a comment page after that it just reloads the disqus section, the rest of the page isn’t reloaded meaning Fred gets no credit for you viewing another page of comments.  He doesn’t get extra ad views after that first click.

  • Jenora Feuer

     Actually, for the ‘different pages of comments do not have different URLs’ part, using NoScript in Firefox to block disqus.com will fix that: Patheos falls back to a  non-disqus formatting with fifty comments per page, older/newer page links, and different pages for each set of fifty comments.

    Of course, if you do that, you lose the ability to track which post something was a response to, lose the timestamps on the posts, and other things happen such as the ‘Recent Comments’ links not working because they always end up referring to the oldest page of comments rather than the newest, while the general post link on the front page goes to the newest.

  • Joshua

    Yeah, as usual with NoScript, the cure is worse than the disease. For better or worse, the modern web runs on JavaScript. I think it’s for the better, but then I’m a programmer who uses web technologies to earn a crust.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I find I have to allow disqus.com to get certain aspects of the comment framework to work properly. That said, blocking it can reveal comments when disqus decides to be a recalcitrant bugger and show NO comments at ALL.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    It is a violation of privacy to take personal pictures from one person’s site or part of a site (like Facebook) and post them on your own site without permission. It’s even more egregious when you do that in order to make sexual comments about the person.

    Legal or not, it’s a despicable violation. 

    Also despicable violators: the paparazzi who took pictures of Kristen Stewart, Prince Harry, and Kate Middleton while they were performing sex acts and/or naked or partly so, the person who sold the sex tape of Hulk Hogan, the person who leaked Blake Lively’s pictures, and the British website publishing upskirt pictures of teenage girls (and not specifically because they’re teenage girls, they’d be just as despicable if they did the same thing to women), and on and on. These are all egregious sexual harassment, and it’s past time that they be treated as such. 

  • Joshua

    Well, sleazy, yes, violation of copyright, yeah, much of the time. In this case, it sounds like it would violate a bunch of other laws as well.

    I don’t agree that it’s a violation of privacy to copy images from one website to another. You should not have an expectation of privacy for stuff you put on the intertubes, unless you’ve encrypted it and use effective authorisation controls.
    You can’t be sure of anything on the internet going away.

  • http://stealingcommas.blogspot.com/ chris the cynic

    I don’t agree that it’s a violation of privacy to copy images from one website to another. You should not have an expectation of privacy for stuff you put on the intertubes, unless you’ve encrypted it and use effective authorisation controls.

    Completely aside from the main debate here, aren’t expectation and violation unrelated?

    If I expect to be violated, and then I am violated, that doesn’t, so far as I know, somehow discount the violation.  As far as I know violation is violation in and of itself, expectation or lack thereof has nothing to do it it.

    When I hear about some violation, any violation, I don’t think that having someone say, “Yeah, well, he/she/it/they was/were expecting it,” would make me go, “Oh, well then it wasn’t a violation.”

    In fact, I think in some cases expectation can make the situation surrounding the violation more traumatic.  In such cases the expectation doesn’t change the violation, but it makes the larger situation worse for the violated party.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave


    aren’t expectation and violation unrelated?

    IANAL, but as I understand it U.S. law has the notion of a “reasonable expectation of privacy.”  If I put something somewhere where no such expectation exists and you come along and broadcast it, my privacy has not been violated before the law.

    Granted, this conversation has mostly not been about U.S.law, but rather about something more amorphous. But I suspect a similar concept was being referenced.

  • http://stealingcommas.blogspot.com/ chris the cynic

    IANAL, but as I understand it U.S. law has the notion of a “reasonable expectation of privacy.”  If I put something somewhere where no such expectation exists and you come along and broadcast it, my privacy has not been violated before the law.

    I did not know that.


    So if I were to move in next to Sarah Palin, someone known for taking pictures of neighbors on their property without their knowledge or consent and posting said pictures to the internet for all to see, it’s obvious that there could be no reasonable expectation of privacy for what I do on my own time on my own property, thus if she started posting pictures of me on the internet I’d have no legal recourse?  That is a silly law.

    Mind you I wouldn’t move in next to Sarah Palin, because, even if I really liked the house, there’s something to be said for considering the neighbors.

  • Lori

    That’s not how it works. “Reasonable expectation of privacy” is (generally) tied to place and activity, not to who else is there. Your privacy on your property isn’t tied to the behavior or reputation of your neighbors.

    The Palin issue is not that she’s known to take pictures and post them (don’t even get me started), it’s that your expectation of privacy is limited when you’re in a place that’s visible from off your property. IOW, you can’t do something on your front lawn, which is visible to anyone passing by on the street, and claim that you expected it to be private. Your fenced in backyard is another story.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    So if I were to move in next to Sarah Palin … I’d have no legal recourse?

    No… there’s a lot of case law having to do with when a reasonable expectation of privacy exists, and it’s usually understood as generalizable across people. E.g., either I have a reasonable expectation of privacy before the law for stuff I toss in my trash, or I don’t, but not “I do if I don’t expect someone to root through it and not if I don’t.”

    OTOH, I might have  a reasonable expectation of privacy before the law for stuff I toss in my trash from a detached dwelling, but not from an apartment building. (I have no idea what the law is about that, I’m just saying it’s the kind of distinction the law makes.)

  • Lori

    It’s pretty settled case law that you have no expectation of privacy for your trash and what type of home you live in doesn’t effect that.  It’s still illegal for someone to use information from your trash to steal from you or blackmail you, but that’s because theft and blackmail are illegal, not because they went through your trash. The cops can and will go through your trash for evidence and they can use it in court without needing a warrant.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave


  • Joshua

    But I suspect a similar concept was being referenced.

    You are correct. My understanding of the law is similar. I don’t know whether that’s because NZ privacy laws are similar to the US’s, or whether my meagre and vague knowledge of it mostly comes from the US.

    What I was saying is that I think unencrypted internet traffic is analogous to walking down a public street, not sitting in your bedroom. (Even though you may actually be sitting in your bedroom.) You ever do a traceroute to another machine? Your post to Facebook may go through half a dozen to two dozen machines along the way. It may go through a number of other countries (OK, maybe not if you are in the US talking to a US site).

    Privacy law as I understand it gives you rights in your bedroom that you do not have walking down the street. Someone can legally take a photo of you in one case but not the other.

    My impression is that actual case law regarding internet traffic doesn’t really agree, which I think is a shame. It will give people false expectations about their privacy that can’t practically be implemented, the internet being open and co-operative as it is, and human nature being that some people always exploit that.

  • banancat

    I don’t think posting pictures online, even on a very public website, means that the poster has no right to privacy. When I physically go to a very public place, I don’t expect pervs to get permanent spank material from me, and I shouldn’t have to expect differently on public websites just because it’s easier for creeps to creep. It might be unrealistic to expect to be treated decently, but that doesn’t mean I have no right to expect it.

  • Madhabmatics

    Also I am loving this because every time someone goes “b..but we should leave him alone to potentially make womens lives a living hell, all he is doing is posting pictures while hundreds of men go ‘omg who is this I have to find her’ for the crime of shopping for groceries in public” I know that their opinions are worth nothing and I should never listen to them again.

  • Madhabmatics

    name + shame people who do things like that until they stop doing them imo

  • http://www.rhayaderprecision.co.uk/ Rhayader Precision

    We need to be very careful about our opinions because sometimes we doesn’t know if we already offend the person and hurt their feelings.