Categories
Facebook Social Networking Sociology

Why Facebook Timeline is Not a Great Place for a Debate? (a.k.a. How to not suck on Facebook?)

With recent controversy raising in political field, I don’t go one day without seeing some debates taking place all over the internet.

Recently, I have had occasion to both observe, and getting involved in such incidents. In the process I’ve had to fire at least one person off from my friend list. I don’t know if I will even have chance of reconciliation, with realization of the great divide in the thought process making it unlikely amicable. Looking at few of my friends timeline, I still see fire erupting here and there.

While this article is revolves around how the interaction works in Facebook, the overall theme is equally applicable to all the social network systems. I hope you find the article interesting.

Seriously, personal timelines are not a great place for those debates!

One of your friend writes something controversial, or maybe they are just linking to some article of that nature. You have different take to that. So you are supposed to correct that person, right? Wrong! If you are coming from the standpoint of correcting someone, you are better off just leave it and go on with your day.

Motives? That doesn’t matter

So let’s decipher the reason behind why you are even bothering to correct them. While this is definitely not a comprehensive list, here are some of my observations:

  1. You genuinely feel that the person can be benefited by your corrected view. That you are strongly believe you are correct and you want to make sure others align with you.
  2. You are part of some cause (e.g. religion or political party) that you feel obligated to spread the world view as your cause see.
  3. You want assert yourself over someone. Because you feel you are better than other.

If you are #3, congratulations, you are genuinely nasty human being. Please go away and hide in a cave and please stay there for rest of your life.

There might be number of other reasons. But I won’t go into details, as it actually doesn’t matter at all, because…

Engaging in a debate on someone’s personal timeline is a no-win game

For any posts or comments you make, writing to someone’s personal timeline is like visiting someone’s house, and starting conversation. Therefore, depending on your relationship with said person, certain level of courtesy is expected. And even if you think you know the person, you may have to exercise extra precautions especially if you are trying to cross someone’s boundary.

Now, why I say that engaging in a debate on someone’s personal timeline is a no-win game? Because no matter how it turns out, you will become, eh, an asshole. I have deliberately used this strong word, because this is very appropriate representation for severity of infringement to one’s personal space. (Please do note however, that I am using this term to figuratively represents how equivalent their action can be described as, and definitely not meant to call any particular person this way.)

No matter how subtle you come into someone’s timeline to start making your point, you will become an asshole regardless.

You are essentially kicking the door open to someone’s house and telling them how to cook, do their laundry, and make their bed. Not a lot of people will find that pleasing, if not developing hates of lifetime against you.

You are not even correct!

And you know what? You are not even correct. Things are controversial for reasons. You may be standing on completely different ground. You are rude and inconsiderate if you are advocating your personal view as if it is their view.

Your arrogance will only buy you hates. You can’t convince other people to consider your view, unless you are willing to show compassion and actually understand problem as they see. You are not that important.

Don’t even come into discussion with assumption that you are correct, because you are definitely not, no matter how you put it.

Circle of the friends

One dynamic that differs drastically even when I compare Facebook timeline to someone’s house is when you are interacting someone on their Facebook timeline, you are not only dealing with that person, but you are doing that in front of many of the person’s friends. Imagine coming into the party full of people, you kick the door open, and start screaming why you are correct and the person is wrong. That’s simply nasty. You are essentially making the person look bad in front of others. They will have no choice but to take more drastic measure to shut you out completely, to protect integrity with their friends.

If you don’t have something nice to say then don’t say anything at all

You probably have heard this numerous time since your childhood. This, is the essence of how you should approach someone’s timeline. It is not your obligation to contribute your opinion to someone’s timeline. They probably don’t even want you there. So simply, just ignore, and mute. If you seriously can’t stand what they are posting, unfriend or block.

It’s actually safe to assume most people post items on their Facebook timeline to exchange information with people who are aligned with their position, and most of time, your opposing view is not welcomed anyways unless you are presenting them in extremely sensitive manner, and that’s very hard.

Don’t bother pushing your argument when you are not welcomed. Doing so will automatically make you a bad person. It doesn’t matter how valid you think your arguments are, more you keep trying, you will be breaking into the boundary of harassment, and that’s not cool. After all, you can’t change the world. Move on.

You are better off discussing your view with other friends of yours who share more similar view. Or maybe, try more public place like news media’s timeline.

There are of course, some conversations, particularly technical in nature, that tend to have more relaxed atmosphere that’s appropriate for open debate, but then that’s rarely controversial to begin with. (But interact with courtesy, and do note there are some pitfalls!)

Conclusion

Facebook and other social media systems enabled us to connect with many people close than ever. They have given me to meet a lot of great people as well as reconnecting with old friends otherwise impossible. At same time, sometimes we tend to forget there’s actual human being behind the screen. Your one keystroke, and one click can provide huge impact, for the good of society, as much as it can for exact opposite. Let’s work together to not be a part of the problem. Let’s try to not be an asshole.

Categories
Japan Sociology

How the End-of-the-Day Meeting at Japanese Schools Endorse Horrible Totalitalian Whistle-blowing

(This is a translated/enhanced edition of the Japanese article originally published on 2013-11-25, due to some interests from Freenet users, I am publishing English translated version.)

When I was attending a Japanese elementary school, very long time ago, beginning around the year 1986, the end of each day was an end-of-the-day meeting.

Generally, important information for the following day, for instance, are main purpose of the meeting, however, there were part of the meeting where people were encouraged to whistle-blow their fellow students, usually for anything petty, such as “So and so weren’t working hard during cleaning hours.” (Students do cleaning duties for schools in Japanese schools.) It was held for all grades, perhaps except for first year, so I believe it was practiced school wide. (A quick Google search suggests it is widely practiced in school throughout Japan.)

It’s probably have been OK, if the whole accusation is true and appropriate for the one being accused, but the problem is when it is an accusation that one do not deserve. Many people who are weak to be confronted (or being sensitive to how others see them) tend to admit their fault, even when they know they don’t deserve one. Myself being quite cynical, and not necessary popular (kind of guy who would be alone, when the teacher asks pair up with other students, sort of speaking) I wouldn’t admit where there was no wrongdoing. This would often have caused this supposedly 10 minute meeting continuing for hours, although, by the time it deemed to take too long, teachers tend to wrap it up, perhaps making a rather ambiguous remark like “I have to leave this up to your consciousness.”

The problem of the end-of-the-day meeting is that there were no protection for one being accused, and judgement is being held by person(s) of interests; essentially first one that says something wins. It’s because logically, it is difficult, if not impossible to prove such wrongdoing didn’t take place to begin with. With an added disadvantage of not being popular in the class would make it worse, and indeed, these are the ones targeted the most. The End-of-the Day meeting contributed nothing but unnecessary dissension among students. What it essentially promoted whistle-blow for every minor dispute; including ones supposed to be solved among ones involved, as well as self-contained wrongdoing that has no effect on anyone but themselves. Essentially, it was a world of MAD (Mutual Assured Destruction) to make sure they weren’t the sole target for such whistle-blowing.

I don’t think it is an overstatement this practice promotes forced confession by police officers, with no transparency in Japan. The End-of-the-Day meeting should be abolished.

Categories
Japan Sociology Technology Uncategorized

A Statement Regarding Interview by NHK of Japan About Tor Technology

This is a document originally written on September 20th, regarding interview about Tor conducted by NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation)

Written on 9/20/2012

I’ve received inquiries from NHK (Nippon Housou Kyoukai) regarding interview they want to do with me. As they will be having a discussion of anonymizing technology in their show called Science Zero to be aired on October 7th, they wanted to do a segment with me, in the topic of why use Tor.

I maintain information site for GnuPG in Japanese and advocacy of information technology is a big thing for me, thus, I accepted their inquiry to appear on TV.

The interview itself was conducted over Google Hangout, for about an hour. Being myself not used to those press interviews, there were times I have explained things for quite a bit of time. (They wanted something simple.)

And this is what happened so far.

So answering their questions, why use Tor, first point is that it is useful when searching for “questionable” matters. (For instance, I am interested in military technologies, like submarines) I feel it is a real threat as in post-9/11 era, information that used to be public is now obscured. Also, eavesdropping capability of NSA is improving in recent year, it is a real fear my activity online would be interpreted in pieces, causing misunderstandings. Another point is simply that the importance of this type of technology only increases over time. I am not sure how they will be using my interview footage, but I wanted to write few words about it.

I am in a stance that information itself should never be incriminating. It is more of the statement that what matters if what action people take with these information in hand, and it’s not the information itself that is a crime. This is also related to freedom of the speech, but regulating information itself will inevitably infringe such freedom of the speech. This is because globally speaking, the only way to protect your own free speech is to also protect someone else.

It is very challenging to describe question of why use Tor without myself sounding like a conspiracy theorist. In practicality, deep webs, such as Hidden Service and Freenet are also important to cover, but as a scope of this interview, I mainly explained it in context of Tor use in public web. (As deep web is not easily perceived by the general public, it would require its own session to explain about it.)

These technologies are in surge of being more important, and I am looking forward to see how this is covered in the show.

More opinions to come after viewing the show.

[ Updated 9/24 ]
NHK just wrote to me that they had to cut my segment due to time constraints. Bummer, but oh well.

An encrypted version of this document is released first and key will be released on certain days (when they have the show listed with the topic on their webpage) so everyone can decrypt. For verification, a passphrase for decrypting encrypted version of this document as follows:

gOsuUwhhUPb6FUBvBW

http://int.tumblr.com/
http://google.com/+HidekiSaito

This document is released under Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported (CC BY-ND 3.0).

Errata

  • Grammatical changes but overall meaning should be same.
  • Terminology fix: Darkweb -> Deepweb
  • Few hyperlinks are added.
Categories
Sociology

A Geek Movie Theater Idea

So substantial people now use their devices while watching TV, why can’t we adopt this in a movie theater?

Here’s my idea — a geek tier. You get last row (if mixed with non-geek tier, entire auditorium can be geek tier which case every single row can be like that) of the seat with a small desk with an AC power, an Ethernet port (and perhaps optional wifi for tablet users) that you can hook up your laptop, and get connected. (These desks can have a small stall high enough to not obscure eye level to the screen, to satisfy pirate-worrying Hollywood studios.)

The idea is, you have full connectivity during movies, as well as web service containing movie and cast information. It can also IRC-like in-auditorium chat system that connects with people watching the same movie, probably named something like CineWhisper™, that you can cheer or jeer with other moviegoers.

Not only this appeal to geek moviegoers, but also to people going to movies in solo — putting some social element during the movie. You survive two hours (or whatever the duration of a movie will be) of socializing, you can even set up a little after-movie drinking session with them!

I’d regularly go to a movie theater like that!

Categories
Sociology

Freedom is a two-way street

Freedom is a two-way street