Explaining #TheTriggering

090316feminist2#TheTriggering is really just one more flare up in the conflict between those who settled ‘The Wild West’ of the internet and enjoyed the freedoms therein, and those who seek to civilise and commercialise it.

If you’re not especially steeped in internet culture it can seem confusing. There’s a huge variety of things being posted on the tag. There’s genuine insights and arguments into internet censorship and the worries surrounding it, there’s shock images, there’s unpalatable political opinions (of every stripe) and deliberate racism, sexism trolling deliberately made to provoke a reaction.

A useful analogy in understanding #TheTriggering is to see it in the context of a somewhat similar events – ‘Everybody Draw Mohammed Day’.

In the same way that Everybody Draw Mohammed Day is a forceful assertion of the right to free speech in the face of religious nonsense about blasphemy and the violent enforcement of that by fanatics via safety in numbers (I’m Spartacus!) so #TheTriggering is a forceful assertion of the right to free speech in the face of attempts to enforce secular blasphemy laws.

Fuck knows, I don’t agree with much that anyone on the right says. I see a lot of shitposting as childish nonsense. Provocation for the sake of it – with some deeper point to it – strikes me as witless. Shock images make me sick. There is, however a greater point to this rejection of censorship and exultant indulging in free speech and the mix within it helps prove the point. Ban the one, you hit the other.

Many of those who stand opposed to free speech, for some reason, have also been posting on the tags. Posting things that they think will be ‘triggering’ to the stereotypes that they think are participating. Predictably, this has had no effect since the people on the tag agree that they should be free to express themselves. Others have, credulously, reacted as though everything on the tag is meant in seriousness and have taken it as proof of… something or other, certainly something other than their own naive credulity. Participating has only bolstered the worth and the point of the tag, as have the other reactions.

Some have built a blocklist, a de-facto blacklist, extracted from those who have posted on the tag. This both shows how moronic the censorship situation has become (they want social media to censor others and see this as a way to do it without their participation. The thing is, that by blocking and organising in this way they show the lack of necessity for top-down imposition of censorship and that the tools available are more than adequate and sufficiently dangerous in and of themselves – and all this over a hashtag which could simply be ignored or muted in the first place.

Of course, I seem to think about these things more than most people do…


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