Slouching Towards Irrelevance - The Rise of Alt-Tech

Without Gamergate, there might not have been a President-Elect Trump.

One of the primary weapons of SJW’s and the left, in general, is what they call “no-platforming.”  Basically, it means refusing to allow political or philosophical opponents any voice in the dialogue, usually under the idea that some ideas are just too extreme or dangerous to be allowed.  It’s the same sort of reasoning that leads to “anyone who challenges global warming or vaccine efficacy should be treated like a Holocaust denier.”

No-Platforming was the trigger for Gamergate, as anyone who questioned the narrative was blocked, deleted, ignored, insulted and ridiculed.  Similarly, it was the cause for the Puppies’ revolt against the Hugo Awards, as any writers outside the clique were excluded and demeaned by science fiction “fandom.”

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Twitter:  Shadowban, Shadowblock, and Outright Banning

Twitter set out to “do something” to filter away the supposed harassment of Gamergate.  Since the formation of their Orwellian “Trust and Safety Council,” they’ve embarked on a steadily escalating plan of censorship and exclusion.

Breitbart’s Milo Yiannopoulos, for example, was first unverified and then expelled, from Twitter.  

Public figures can be “verified” and thereby earn the right to have a blue check mark placed next to their screen name, signifying that this is, indeed, the celebrity in question. Milo became one of a very small number of celebrities to have his verified check removed.

Later, after a public Twitter spat with one of the stars of the Ghostbusters reboot, Milo was permanently banned from the system.

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Besides banning people outright, Twitter has also pioneered the use of the shadowban.  Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, was deeply offended when he realized he was shadowbanned.  

According to many of my Twitter followers, Twitter is “shadowbanning” me. If true, that means someone at Twitter has decided to suppress my free speech on the site, presumably because I have said good things about Trump’s talents for persuasion. My tweets do not align with Twitter’s political preferences as I understand them… Shadowbanning isn’t a complete suppression of tweets. It only suppresses some percentage of them to reduce the influence of the sender. Allegedly.

I won’t jump the gun and assume something nefarious is happening. But I will say that IF it is happening, I would regard it as treason. If one political party can use the machinery of social networks to reduce free speech, that is an attack on American values at the deepest level. As a patriot, I would feel obligated to help kill Twitter. (And you wouldn’t want to bet against me.)

I understand Twitter is looking for a buyer. If management is shadowbanning me, that would be a breach of fiduciary responsibility, screwing both the shareholders and the employees who hope the company can be purchased. In my view, shadowbanning would make Twitter too toxic to own. That toxicity – treason in my view – would transfer to the buyer.

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The shadowban is a violation of Twitter’s design; it’s a demonstration of “you can’t be trusted to decide who you want to read on our service.”  Strangely enough, it seems like only libertarian, Alt-Right, and conservative writers are ever locked behind a shadowban.

Apparently, the shadowban did not work as well as was hoped, so Twitter added a new weapon to their arsenal; call it a shadowblock, to go alongside the shadowban.  Twitter will not allow anyone to post the link to a shadowblocked site.  It keeps the offending tweet in drafts, and displays a pop-up, declaring that the URL leads to a site that could be dangerous for any of a number of reasons.  

The link you are trying to access has been identified by Twitter or our partners as being potentially harmful or associated with a violation of Twitter’s Terms of Service.  This link could lead to a site that:

  • Steals your password or other personal information
  • Installs malicious software programs on your computer
  • Collects your personal information for spam purposes
  • Has been associated with a violation of Twitter’s Terms of Service

Again, like the shadowban, the primary target of the shadowblock seems to be right-wing, libertarian, conservative, Christian and Catholic sites, as well as “dangerous” links, like Wikileaks.  Facebook, too, seems to be picking up on the shadowblocking concept.

And just recently, Twitter partnered with the Southern Poverty Law Center, to delete a number of accounts.

Twitter has entered a new phase in their war against free expression. The same place that once claimed to represent the “free speech wing of the free speech party” has now decided to wipe out numerous alt-right accounts at the behest of the Southern Poverty Law Center, a group which claims expertise when it comes to so-called hate speech.

Wikipedia:  Orwellian Memory-Hole

How to Fail at Almost ... Scott Adams Best Price: $6.99 Buy New $8.25 (as of 02:15 EST - Details) Wikipedia has been earning a reputation for SJW-thought-policing over the last several years, with “edit-wars” exploding over politically sensitive topics.  One perfect example surrounds the Wiki page for Alicia Machado, the beauty queen who accused Trump of insulting her.  As her profile has risen, due to her appearances with the Hillary Clinton campaign, the more embarrassing moments of her past have disappeared from her Wiki.

Facebook Is To Blame

Some have noted that many of the traditional functions of news have been taken over by Facebook:

…Facebook’s size, reach, wealth, and power make it effectively the only one that matters. And, boy, does it matter. At the risk of being hyperbolic, I think there are few events over the last decade more significant than the social network’s wholesale acquisition of the traditional functions of news media (not to mention the political party apparatus).

In the very next paragraph, though, the author makes clear that the solution is more control over the flow of information.

The most obvious way in which Facebook enabled a Trump victory has been its inability (or refusal) to address the problem of hoax or fake news. Fake news is not a problem unique to Facebook, but Facebook’s enormous audience, and the mechanisms of distribution on which the site relies — i.e., the emotionally charged activity of sharing, and the show-me-more-like-this feedback loop of the news feed algorithm — makes it the only site to support a genuinely lucrative market in which shady publishers arbitrage traffic by enticing people off of Facebook and onto ad-festooned websites, using stories that are alternately made up, incorrect, exaggerated beyond all relationship to truth, or all three.

Sam Biddle, formerly of Gawker, makes the same case–Facebook should add fact-checkers and news filters.

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Google:  Don’t be Evil, but Bias is Okay

Even Google was involved in tweaking data in Hillary Clinton’s favor.

It is somewhat difficult to get the Google search bar to suggest negative searches related to Mrs. Clinton or to make any Clinton-related suggestions when one types a negative search term. Bing and Yahoo, on the other hand, often show a number of negative suggestions in response to the same search terms. Bing and Yahoo seem to be showing us what people are actually searching for; Google is showing us something else.

Of course, when the executive chairman is spotted wearing a Clinton campaign “staff” badge, and Wikileaks emails reveal he was working directly with the campaign, perhaps a bit of bias is to be expected.

Hammering the Message Home

The message has been the same, over and over again.  

Gamergate began when gamers asked, “is there a problem with ethics in journalism?”  Gaming journalists responded with “No, of course not, how dare you ask that question, I’m deleting your account, go away.”  

The Hugo awards showed that a segment of fandom was unwelcome when they said: “there is no room in science fiction for that kind of person, go away.”

Twitter must clamp down in order to “combat hate speech, trolls, and cyber-bullies.”  Facebook must clamp down “because people won’t be able to tell the difference between real and fake news stories.”

Twitter, Facebook, Wikipedia, Google, and more, have all decided that some topics are not to be discussed, and a firm control over the free flow of information is necessary.  

If you believe in freedom of speech, if you ask uncomfortable questions, if you challenge the rules–you are obviously not welcome, and the mainstream wants you to go away.

Judging by Twitter’s stock price, people are definitely leaving, in droves.

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The Rise of Alt-Tech

Brendan Eich was forced out of his position as CEO of Mozilla because he made a donation to a politically-incorrect cause.  He didn’t do anything wrong; he simply ran afoul of the Social Justice Warriors at Mozilla.  Rather than slink away into obscurity, Eich has released Brave, a new, secure, and incredibly fast browser to replace Firefox and Chrome.

Gab is a replacement for Twitter.  With a larger character limit and a guarantee of freedom of speech, many of those banned, blocked, or offended by Twitter have begun a mass migration to Gab.  While the post-election mood on Twitter resembled a wake, Gab was celebrating the results.

Most mainstream coverage of Gab has been “the racists have been kicked off of Twitter, so they’ve gone to hang out at an echo-chamber called Gab.”  Even though it’s still in beta testing, Gab has been incredibly successful so far and is growing by leaps and bounds.  

For former Twitter users, both those cast off the site due to their extreme views, or those quitting Twitter in protest, a new social network is hoping to hoover them up instead. Gab advertises itself with the slogan “Free speech for everyone”, and features a green frog as its logo…

In a statement, Gab said: “We are a free-speech website and nothing more. Gab is open to all users, regardless of their political beliefs, ideology, and moral views. Our mission is to put people first and to foster discourse without hindrance and prescription, as is occurring throughout the online community.”

Unlike Twitter’s “block” feature, Gab has a keyword filter–simply enter a word into your filter list, and any future posts containing that word will be blocked from your feed.  This “user-controlled self-censorship” was a core element of Gab’s design, and is also so revolutionary that Twitter is testing its own version of it:

Today at Gab AI Inc, a people first pro-free speech social network, we were particularly amused to discover that our competitor at Twitter is tinkering around with the concept of user-controlled self-censorship — a tool that has been the staple of our platform, since its inception from the beginning of August.

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Mewe has been around for a while and is generally seen as a replacement for Facebook.  Several months ago, several of the vaccine-questioning groups left Facebook for Mewe, because they felt they were not welcome and their posts were being filtered or deleted.

Finally, Infogalactic  is a “fork” of Wikipedia.  Infogalactic does not allow a relative handful of expert editors to control the definition of “allowable” content.

Infogalactic does not share the highly centralized structure of Wikipedia or the ideological dogma of the Wikimedia Foundation. The primary requirements are for the information contributed to be true, relevant, and verifiable, rather than cited from a so-called “published reliable source”, since experience has proven how reliance upon the latter can be easily gamed by editors and administrators alike. There is no culture of notability, ideology, or deletionism at Infogalactic…Infogalactic is designed around the idea that the user should be permitted to decide what information is relevant to him, not 500 ideologically-driven thought police.

Infogalactic already has over 500 editors.  There are plugins available to re-route Wikipedia requests to Infogalactic instead, and Brave has added it to their default search engine list.

Infogalactic is designed to replace Wikipedia.  Gab is an improved Twitter, and perhaps even a replacement for Facebook, as is Mewe.  Brave is an ad-free, secure, and fast new browser to replace Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Chrome.  There are even alternatives to Google search, like Duck Duck Go and Good Gopher.

Much like self-publishing and indie publishing have bypassed traditional publishing, Alt-Tech is demonstrating that the powerful gatekeepers of the Internet are not invincible–the gates they are guarding are crumbling into decay and can be bypassed with relative ease.