The Earth Party
Blueprint for a Mature Civilization
Step 2D: Planetize the Internet
-Planetizing means placing under the conscious stewardship of We the People. It's like "nationalizing", but with the entire planet.
-We need to do it because the internet is humanity's "Town Square" - the place we go to discuss our planetary issues and how to solve them. It's an element of vital infrastructure for our civilization, and we can't keep letting private corporations dictate how it's run. It belongs to ALL of us, and its governance needs to reflect that, so it can stay open and free.
-The key foundations of the internet, along with the physical telecommunications lines and infrastructure that carry it, will be placed under the stewardship of the Planetary Protectorate.
-Each of the 5 Levels of government will oversee it within their own jurisdictions. E.g. each city will protect it within that city, each township within that township, etc.
-The primary carrier of the internet will be land-based cables. We need to phase out mobile telecommunications - they are harmful to our health, and the current system subjects everyone to their radiation, regardless of consent. Consent needs to be respected, and there is no way to do that when we're pumping radiation everywhere, at everyone, at all times.
-Mobile telecommunications may still exist, but only as high as 2g. Its main purpose is sending simple messages to people to facilitate real-life meetings, and, in the case of emergencies, making emergency calls. If you need to download movies, you can wait until you get home. ADHD has become an epidemic, and it's ripping apart our society, and it's largely due to our phones, and we all know this. So why is there even an argument? It's time to fix this.
-The physical cables will be re-routed to follow the Intuitive Transit Grid, which makes the "shape of the internet" obvious and easy to understand, for everyone. It also greatly expedites repairs.
Global Communications Network
Priority One: Simplicity
Priority Two: Transparency
Priority Three: Universal Access
Upon Login to the Internet, the following appears
1. Map of the Planet, Global Search Engine, Top Menu
2. Top Menu: Communication, Media, Government
Communication: Text, Audio, Video
Media: Music, Movies, Pictures, Blogs, Businesses, Television
Government: Complete transparency at all levels
Global Zoom Map of all regions, with officers and their contact info.
Television: Reporting, Entertainment (clear, menu-level distinction)
Reporting: Global Zoom Map, Search Engine
Entertainment: Global Zoom Map, Search Engine
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The Earth Party has a solution. It's called the Internet Bill of Rights. If you declare your agreement with these rights, then you are part of the solution.
Here's the list, so far. It's preliminary, and will be expanded into further detail, but for now, here's what we've got:
1. Everyone has the right to say absolutely anything, (with the exception of direct incitements to specific acts of violence), and remain on a network.
2. For specific discussion groups within a network, admins may set their own specific group rules, but, if an admin bans someone from their group, the software must inform the group that the person was banned. No one can be banned in secret without anyone noticing.
3. Furthermore, the admin must provide an explanation for why the person was banned, and this will show up in the software-generated announcement of the banning. The notice must include the offending message - in EXACT WORDS - that warranted the banning, along with a rational explanation of how those exact words violated the group rules.
4. The banned person must have the ability to contest the banning, and defend themselves. The forum software must automatically generate a new thread for this purpose, in which the banned person can mount a defense. Although they can't start their own threads or comment in other threads, they will have one thread in which to make their case, and anyone interested in the reasons for the person's banning can go into that thread and read the person's defense (and, if desired, discuss it).
5. People who take advantage of these requirements to swamp admins with multiple, repeated, spam-like posts, may be banned from the network, but only due to their interference with other people's ability to have discussions - not for their thoughts or ideas.
6. Social media companies will have 1 year from passage to integrate these principles into their software.
7. The definition of the word "troll" is hereby set to mean a person who sabotages other people's ability to have a discussion - NOT someone who merely presents ideas that differ from the group consensus.
By the true definition of a troll, admins who ban people for holding dissenting opinions are more troll-like than the people they're banning. A troll is someone who PREVENTS discussion - not someone who expands it.
And that's the Internet Bill of Rights, so far. Do you have an idea for another item? Feel free to share it!
"But social networks are private companies. The government has no right to decide how they manage their platforms."
Like it or not, social media is where the human race now meets to discuss the pressing issues of our times. It is the new "Town Square." This is the reality.
And if we allow private corporations to manage our Town Square, and censor anything they don't like, then we no longer HAVE a Town Square. There is no where else to go. Either we take back control of our Square, or we don't have one, and our issues will never be discussed, and our problems will never be solved.
The Town Square is an integral aspect of our society's vital infrastructure - we can't function without it. And since it's so fundamental, We the People have the legitimate right to step in and take control over it, to manage it for the free and fair use by All.
This is why we have public oversight of utilities, like water and electricity. The utility company can't shut off your lights or water because you said something they didn't like.
The same goes for the phone company. They can't disconnect your phone because you criticized them. And the reason they can't is because We the People have decided to publicly oversee these companies' operation. We've decided that our vital infrastructure is too important to leave up to the whims of corporate executives. At least in these areas...
So the internet should be treated in the same way. We the People must take conscious control over its operation, to ensure that it remains free and open.
Our Forum principles:
No one should be banned for any reason.
"But what if they're spreading hate? What if they're inciting violence?"
Here's the thing. If you ban them, they still exist. You might kick them off the internet, but you didn't really neutralize them. They're still out there. Banning them gives you a false sense of security, similar to how the "war on terror" gives Americans a false sense of being secure from terrorist attacks, or a gated community gives residents a false sense of security from burglary.
Banning hateful people does absolutely nothing to heal their hatred. In fact, not only is it ineffective, but it has the opposite effect. It increases their hatred.
It's a well-known fact of psychology that one of the primary causes of the building up anger is the inability to express anger. People who are never able to express their anger are the ones who end up becoming the most angry. If there's no outlet for their angry feelings, it builds and builds.
There is of course a difference between proper and improper expressions of anger. Physical violence is not a proper expression. But in order to prevent that type, you have to allow the proper type. You have to make sure there is some kind of appropriate venue and context for the expression of their feelings. Otherwise, you get neurosis, and with neurosis comes the potential for aggression and violence.
And if you ban them from a discussion forum, you just took away what little catharsis they still had. You cut one of their last lines of communication. You just condemned them to an increased buildup of anger, which, over time, translates into neurosis.
Why do you think punishing neurotic people by making them more neurotic deters neurosis?
If someone is truly trolling, they need help. Think about it. Why would they waste their time and energy on being a troll? You know the answer. It's because they have nothing going on in their life. They have no relationships. No meaningful interpersonal interaction. You ADMIT that you know this when you make fun of them. Most swipes involve some variation on making an observation of the fact that they have no social life. Deep down, you must know that that's what CAUSES them to become trolls, and yet you make fun of it anyway. It's actually very cruel, and it lends some legitimacy to their anger. It takes two to tango.
And then there's also the possibility that they're not trolling at all, and you're just being intolerent of dissent. Dissent does not make someone a troll.
Let it be repeated: Dissent does not make someone a troll.
And yet probably 99% of all internet discussion forums will treat a person as a troll for no reason other than them presenting ideas that disagree with the group consensus.
But the group needs a justification for banning the person. And "dissent" is not enough. If all the person is doing is dissenting, then the group will need to find another, more serious crime to accuse them of. And if they're not committing any, then the group will need to invent one.
So, a group that's intent on banning someone will attempt to rationalize its intolerance by accusing the dissenter of being hateful, bigoted, violent, or whatever other keywords it considers grounds for banning.
And here's where it gets tricky. Once accused, the dissenter is typically not given a chance to dispute the accusation, because they are already persona-non-grata, and therefore don't deserve a "platform." And without a platform, it's impossible for them to dispute the crime they've been accused of. And if they can't dispute it, then the accusation stands. And continues to justify denying them a platform - a platform to dispute the accusation.
So a vicious cycle of non-communication ensues. The vast majority of people banned for "trolling" are not trolls at all - but since you banned them before they had a chance to explain themselves, you never found out.
If you had listened, you might have found out one of the following:
they don't actually believe the things you think they believe - you just THOUGHT they did, because that's what someone else TOLD you.
they have a reason for believing the things they believe, and, although they might still be wrong, it actually makes sense that they would have come to the conclusion they came to, due to their particular life experiences
they were actually right, and you were mistaken about the validity of one or more of your OWN beliefs
But, since you banned them before they could explain, you never found out why you shouldn't have banned them.
It's no secret that the "deplorables" are angry. And while it may be true that they misplace the blame for their anger (for instance, blaming an entire race or country or social group), the anger itself is still real. And needs to be addressed.
And good news! If you're on an internet discussion forum with them, then you have the ability to help them.
"And how do I do that?"
By being normal, and having a normal conversation with them, and listening to what they have to say. It's really that simple. If you disagree with their ideas, explain why, but do so in a rational manner. Don't give them more fuel for their emotional flames - just talk to them, like a normal human being.
"But they're not normal! They're hateful! We shouldn't normalize them. They're barely even human!"
Yes. And do you see any possible correlation between you treating them like scum, and them acting like scum? Any possible correlation between your refusal to accept them into the human family, and them... not being a normal functioning memeber of the human family?
Any correlation between you dehumanizing them, and them dehumanizing others?
"But they did it first! They become deplorable first, and then people started dehumanizing them after!"
How do you know what?
How do you know precisely when - and how - they first became deplorable?
How do you know it wasn't preceded by the reception of some form of rejection or dehumanization from others?
And, furthermore, how do you even know they're deplorable in the first place? Maybe you just misunderstand what they actually believe. Maybe they don't actually hate any race or social group. Maybe someone else just TOLD you that they did. Maybe you're misinterpreting something they're saying.
The only way to know the answer to ANY of these questions is to listen, and have a conversation with them. At the very least, allow them to have a conversation with others if you're too busy to do it yourself. And that requires not banning them.
Theere is absolutely no excuse to ban anyone, from any discussion, ever.
People who are secure and confident in the veracity of their belief system should have nothing to fear from someone asking tough questions. If your philosophy really is sound, and internally consistent, then there should be no way for me, or anyone, to dismantle it. It should withstand rational scrutiny. So the people who are afraid of dialogue must know, somewhere deep down, that there are holes in their story. Otherwise, they wouldn't feel threatened by mere words, respectful words at that.
Social media authoritarianizes (link) human relationships. It provides us with new relationships - and all of them are authorirarian. And since there are only 24 hours in a day, these relationships replace, to one degree or another, our real-life, non-authoritarian relationships. We still might say the same amount of words, and interact for the same amount of time - perhaps even with the same number of people as before (if we're not one of those thousands-of-friends type of people), so there's no net change in anything - except in empathy and authoritarianism. Those are the only two things that change, as our communicaions become more electronic.
The process of electronicizing our relationships shifts the net quality of relationships toward less empathic, and more authoritarian.
The more of our relationships become electronic, the more authoritarian (and less empathic) they become.
Making us ever more similar to computers.
Again, humanity lost, but technocracy gained.
"Wait, how does social media promote authoritarianism?"
See here. Link.
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