trolling Hugo

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Salon's Arthur Chu discusses how right-wing trolls can ruin anything:

One of the false promises we've been made that people keep buying into is that the Internet is a "democratizing" force, that the digital world gives us instant access to the real vox populi, that the simple fact that anyone can leave a comment, or answer a poll, or submit an entry to a contest means that everyone does, and therefore opinion of "the Internet" is everyone's opinion.

This is obviously false.

Worse, the more specialized and dedicated an Internet space is, the more "It tends to be a space dominated by privileged reactionary jerks:"

Today's longest-lasting, most determined trolls have a real ideology behind their trolling, and it usually takes the form of a feeling of betrayal and resentment of the world around them and a knee-jerk rage against the idea of progress.

The worst trolls are almost universally hard-right conservatives, in other words, and they generally care about their pet causes with a breathtaking fervor that their enemies can't possibly hope to match.

Apportioning public recognition in the guise of awards can be one of those areas, especially when it's seen as counterbalancing "liberal bias" or some other imagined ideological slight. Chu notes that "Recently we've seen the results of freeping in an area particularly vulnerable to it, the Hugo Awards:"

The Hugos aren't a private award given by a handpicked jury, nor are they a massively publicized vote where everyone who's in the know votes every year à la "American Idol" or a presidential election-the two cases that make a vote difficult to freep.

Instead, they're done by popular vote, but to vote you have to pay $40 for a "supporting membership" to Worldcon, the organization that sponsors the Hugos. [...]

To vote on the Hugos you have to either know and care a ton about science fiction-or you have to be convinced that science fiction is part of the vast liberal conspiracy arrayed against you and make a disingenuous post calling you and your friends "Sad Puppies" over said liberal conspiracy. $40 is a lot of money to pay to express your opinions, even strongly held ones, about fiction you love-but it's a cheap price to stick it to liberal pro-diversity elitists you hate.

This sort of heckler's veto is one price of democracy:

"Just let the public give their input" is a lazy, useless and above all dangerous way to make decisions. If you want democracy you have to put effort into designing a process that actually makes sure your voting population matches the relevant population and to keep the process from being captured by bad actors. If that's too hard for you, then accept that democracy is too hard for you and find some other way to claim legitimacy for the decision you end up making.

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on April 6, 2015 8:54 PM.

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