Defusing Hate: A Strategic Communication Guide to Counteract Dangerous Speech

post by morganism · 2017-01-14T23:07:58.380Z · LW · GW · Legacy · 16 comments

This is a link post for https://www.ushmm.org/confront-genocide/how-to-prevent-genocide/hate-speech-and-incitement-to-genocide/defusing-hate-a-guide-to-counteract-dangerous-speech

16 comments

Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by Viliam · 2017-01-16T11:38:22.663Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

A link to hundreds of pages, and no short summary?

comment by The_Jaded_One · 2017-01-15T12:13:57.719Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

"Dangerous speech" could easily become a weapon to attack and surpress views you don't like.

This has already happened with "Hate speech" and "Fake news".

comment by fubarobfusco · 2017-01-15T17:50:06.848Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

It is written by the sage Brandeis that "the remedy [to harmful speech] is more speech, not enforced silence."

In order for this remedy to be applied, someone has to actually compose the "more speech" that rebuts the harmful speech. This paper appears to be a set of recommendations for how to go about doing that; crafting "more speech" so that it actually constitutes an effective and relevant rebuttal against speech that advocates violence. I didn't notice anything in this paper that recommended suppression or censorship, or even that those were up for consideration.

(Also, it's really okay to not like genocide; for "let's massacre the tribe next door!" to be among the "views you don't like". As it is written by the rhetor Goldwater: "moderation in the protection of liberty is no virtue.")

comment by TiffanyAching · 2017-01-16T00:28:08.702Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'd upvote this five times if I could - but I suspect the reason we're all hung up on the title is that nobody but you actually has read the paper before commenting. Which is a perfect little example of how people often get sucked into a debate about terminology and end up neglecting the actual subject.

comment by NatashaRostova · 2017-01-15T23:29:26.571Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I think the most dangerous aspect of 'dangerous speech' is it is a shared meme to disregard certain types of arguments off-hand, regardless of how true or false they are. It becomes most dangerous when someone then, for some reason, decides to investigate further and realizes "Hey, some of this stuff is true! And I can't trust anyone anymore."

comment by TiffanyAching · 2017-01-15T16:33:28.524Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

That's true, but every term you could use to describe misleading, counterfactual or just basically horrible statements can also be used as a rhetorical weapon without regard to whether it's actually applicable in a given case. Lies, propaganda, fake news, twisted facts, hate speech, political correctness - you can use any of them to shut the door on argument. "Bias" is used like that often - "you're just biased!" - but we still have to deal with bias as a real thing.

That said I'm not sure "Dangerous speech" is a useful new term itself. It's very vague, and it has an Orwellian ring to it, and it seems like it would derail many discussions of the actual content of the speech into arguments about definitions of "dangerous". If anyone wants to defend the utility of it, go ahead and I'll hear it, but I'm usually only in favour of introducing new terms when they actually fill a gap. We already have terms like "lies" and "hate speech" and "incitement to violence" and what have you, so I'm not sure what "dangerous speech" would add.

comment by The_Jaded_One · 2017-01-15T20:53:32.840Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

"Inciting violence" is a lot better than "hate speech" because it's a lot less flexible and less open to reinterpretation.

I actually think that "fake news" is less bad than "dangerous news", because you can classify almost anything you disagree with as "dangerous" and kind of be correct, but there are some things that one cannot classify as "fake" without opening oneself up to a severe counter-attack.

comment by TiffanyAching · 2017-01-15T21:10:37.072Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Without getting into your specific examples, your statement doesn't seem to contradict my point.

Any term used to describe speech that is untrue, misleading, generally morally shitty or some combination of the three can and will be misapplied to shut down argument or signal team-loyalty. How would that not also be true of a new term like "dangerous speech"? And if "dangerous speech" is also susceptible to the same sort of misuse, where is the extra value that would make it useful as a new term?

comment by Luke_A_Somers · 2017-01-16T16:11:02.786Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I would like to see a credible citation on the 'no go zones'. The best I can find are articles linking such evidence as:

  • one constable… talking about different, unspecified jurisdictions.
  • videos of large numbers of muslims praying (peacefully) in the streets.. I can imagine additional context that could make that either seem or actually be threatening, but with no specific context and in a language I don't know, it doesn't seem so.
  • some sites (allegedly; I will presume for now that they are real) by people who have stated this as their aim. I note that there is no particular shortage of assholes who talk a big game, especially in propaganda arms.

This seems like the kind of thing that, if real, would leave a fatter trail of evidence.

comment by TiffanyAching · 2017-01-16T02:52:10.676Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Which is exactly why I didn't read it - and I'm not saying I'm going to read it either. I'm just saying that it's a neat example of how debating the terminology is, in many situations, the low-hanging fruit. I know it's mentioned in the Sequences, though I can't remember where. Debating the content of the argument is harder and, I find, quite often means reading a lot of boring things like white papers and scientific studies and reports to commissions nobody's ever heard of. That comes up in political discussions all the time.

(Though speaking of terminology, I think we should throw things at morganism for posting a link to a 166-page "strategic communication guide" and calling it an "article".)

comment by morganism · 2017-01-16T21:55:43.821Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yes, power point must die...science presentations are getting better, but NGO's still lagging on content.

Section 2 starts getting down to it, but starts incorporating the first workbook too ! (pg 37)

I thought the first paragraph on the landing page was pretty succinct in stating why it was "dangerous", instead of just hateful or inciting, as it encourages action against a group.

The article in CSM wasn't that helpful either, this is a very interlinked system, as she points out that defenders can also become targeted just from trying to protect the attacked group. Guess that is why there is so many points to deal with, tho they do show how to diagram it with just 5 post-it notes

comment by TiffanyAching · 2017-01-16T22:08:10.202Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I might have to read it after all now - I map out most of my life on post-it notes and feel a great sympathy for anyone who appreciates that underrated medium.

comment by morganism · 2017-01-14T23:11:27.155Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

from this article

"“She is one of the highest performing Fellows we have ever had and her subsequent trajectory speaks volumes of her talent and commitment to positive global change,” says Leetha Filderman, PopTech’s president, in an email.

Brent Decker, chief program officer for Cure Violence, an international peace initiative hosted by the University of Illinois at Chicago, collaborated with Brown on her project in Kenya. “I walked away from our engagement just being totally impressed. Just ‘wow,’ ” he says. “I felt we were lucky to be part of the partnership because it also shifted a lot of our thinking.... She was amazing.”

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Making-a-difference/2017/0112/How-can-dangerous-speech-be-neutralized-This-woman-has-some-ideas

comment by morganism · 2017-01-14T23:09:47.873Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

from the Holocaust Memorial group, author did a stint in Kenya before the 2013 elections, where it was very "hot".

"Genocide and mass atrocities are commonly preceded and accompanied by “dangerous speech”—hate speech that has the potential to influence people to accept, condone, or commit violence against targeted groups. Dangerous speech is consequently considered both a warning sign and an instrument of group-targeted violence. Counteracting its dissemination provides us with one avenue for preventing this type of violence from occurring."