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Discord, encrypted chat, and the alt-right
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RS Wood
2017-08-16 15:54:12 UTC
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https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/15/technology/discord-chat-app-alt-right.html?&moduleDetail=section-news-2&action=click&contentCollection=Media&region=Footer&module=MoreInSection&version=WhatsNext&contentID=WhatsNext&pgtype=article

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The alt-right, as the loose constellation of far-right political groups
that includes white nationalists and neo-Nazis is known, uses many
mainstream tech platforms to distribute its message: Twitter, Facebook,
and YouTube for recruiting and public broadcasting, Reddit and 4Chan
for lighthearted memes and trolling, and, until Monday, Discord for
private group communication. Many of these companies resisted efforts
to cut off the activists, arguing that as long as their activities
weren’t illegal, they were simply using the tools as any others would.

But that dynamic has taken a sharp turn in recent weeks. The industry
has been clashing with the alt-right over free speech, and companies
now appear further galvanized by the violence in Charlottesville,
perhaps realizing that remaining neutral on hateful movements is no
longer a viable option. In recent days, large tech companies like
GoDaddy, Google and Airbnb have taken action to remove white
nationalists and neo-Nazis from their services. Others, like Twitter
and Facebook, have banned individual users who have threatened violence
or contributed to hate movements.

Partly, these are self-preservation instincts kicking in — no company
wants to end up like Reddit, which has struggled to shake its
reputation as a den of toxicity — but it is also indicative of an
emerging consensus around the moral responsibilities of tech platforms.

Like most platforms, Discord never meant to become a virtual home of
the alt-right. It started in 2015 as a chat app for video gamers, where
fans of games like World of Warcraft could form teams and talk about
strategy. Over the next several years, as gamers invited their friends
to the app, it became one of the hottest start-ups in Silicon Valley,
growing to more than 45 million members and raising nearly $100 million
from top tech investors.

But Discord also attracted far-right political groups, whose members
were drawn to the app’s privacy and anonymity features. Discord allows
users to form private, invitation-only chat groups invisible to those
outside the app, and it allows a high degree of anonymity, making it an
ideal choice for people looking to avoid detection or surveillance.
Perhaps most importantly, it is largely self-policed — administrators
of servers, as Discord’s group chat rooms are known, set their own
rules and are responsible for keeping their members in line.
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RS Wood <***@therandymon.com>
Computer Nerd Kev
2017-08-16 23:03:18 UTC
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Post by RS Wood
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/15/technology/discord-chat-app-alt-right.html?&moduleDetail=section-news-2&action=click&contentCollection=Media&region=Footer&module=MoreInSection&version=WhatsNext&contentID=WhatsNext&pgtype=article
Discord allows
users to form private, invitation-only chat groups invisible to those
outside the app, and it allows a high degree of anonymity, making it an
ideal choice for people looking to avoid detection or surveillance.
Perhaps most importantly, it is largely self-policed ? administrators
of servers, as Discord?s group chat rooms are known, set their own
rules and are responsible for keeping their members in line.
More or less like a mailing list then.
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RS Wood
2017-08-17 01:22:39 UTC
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On Wed, 16 Aug 2017 23:03:18 +0000 (UTC)
Post by Computer Nerd Kev
Post by RS Wood
Discord allows
users to form private, invitation-only chat groups invisible to those
outside the app, and it allows a high degree of anonymity, making it an
ideal choice for people looking to avoid detection or surveillance.
Perhaps most importantly, it is largely self-policed ? administrators
of servers, as Discord?s group chat rooms are known, set their own
rules and are responsible for keeping their members in line.
More or less like a mailing list then.
Ha ha ha! I hadn't thought of it when I read it, but now that you mention it, bingo. That's pretty funny.
Rich
2017-08-17 10:19:25 UTC
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Post by RS Wood
On Wed, 16 Aug 2017 23:03:18 +0000 (UTC)
Post by Computer Nerd Kev
Discord allows users to form private, invitation-only chat groups
invisible to those outside the app, and it allows a high degree of
anonymity, making it an ideal choice for people looking to avoid
detection or surveillance. Perhaps most importantly, it is
largely self-policed ? administrators of servers, as Discord?s
group chat rooms are known, set their own rules and are
responsible for keeping their members in line.
More or less like a mailing list then.
Ha ha ha! I hadn't thought of it when I read it, but now that you
mention it, bingo. That's pretty funny.
Take nearly any _newfangled_ "web based 'thing'" and you'll likely find
that some version of it existed as a text only system that too many of
the newer generation no longer even know existed.

Often the only real difference between the old text based version and
the new "web thang" is the ability to directly embed viewable images.
Huge
2017-08-17 10:47:11 UTC
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Post by Rich
Post by RS Wood
On Wed, 16 Aug 2017 23:03:18 +0000 (UTC)
Post by Computer Nerd Kev
Discord allows users to form private, invitation-only chat groups
invisible to those outside the app, and it allows a high degree of
anonymity, making it an ideal choice for people looking to avoid
detection or surveillance. Perhaps most importantly, it is
largely self-policed ? administrators of servers, as Discord?s
group chat rooms are known, set their own rules and are
responsible for keeping their members in line.
More or less like a mailing list then.
Ha ha ha! I hadn't thought of it when I read it, but now that you
mention it, bingo. That's pretty funny.
Take nearly any _newfangled_ "web based 'thing'" and you'll likely find
that some version of it existed as a text only system that too many of
the newer generation no longer even know existed.
Often the only real difference between the old text based version and
the new "web thang" is the ability to directly embed viewable images.
That may be the only functional difference, but the real difference is
the ability to monetise the service.
--
Today is Prickle-Prickle, the 10th day of Bureaucracy in the YOLD 3183
I don't have an attitude problem.
If you have a problem with my attitude, that's your problem.
Sparc IPX
2017-08-17 13:25:11 UTC
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Post by Huge
That may be the only functional difference, but the real difference is
the ability to monetise the service.
Double bingo!
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sparcipx
SDF Public Access UNIX System - http://sdf.lonestar.org
Oregonian Haruspex
2017-08-17 23:04:26 UTC
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Post by Rich
Post by RS Wood
On Wed, 16 Aug 2017 23:03:18 +0000 (UTC)
Post by Computer Nerd Kev
Discord allows users to form private, invitation-only chat groups
invisible to those outside the app, and it allows a high degree of
anonymity, making it an ideal choice for people looking to avoid
detection or surveillance. Perhaps most importantly, it is
largely self-policed ? administrators of servers, as Discord?s
group chat rooms are known, set their own rules and are
responsible for keeping their members in line.
More or less like a mailing list then.
Ha ha ha! I hadn't thought of it when I read it, but now that you
mention it, bingo. That's pretty funny.
Take nearly any _newfangled_ "web based 'thing'" and you'll likely find
that some version of it existed as a text only system that too many of
the newer generation no longer even know existed.
Often the only real difference between the old text based version and
the new "web thang" is the ability to directly embed viewable images.
I'm convinced that the next Internet billionaire will simply clone another
standard multi-user Unix host feature. Who's up for a web-2.0 version of
Finger?
Ivan Shmakov
2017-08-18 18:27:36 UTC
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Post by RS Wood
Post by Computer Nerd Kev
Post by RS Wood
On Wed, 16 Aug 2017 23:03:18 +0000 (UTC)
RW> Discord allows users to form private, invitation-only chat groups
RW> invisible to those outside the app, and it allows a high degree of
RW> anonymity, making it an ideal choice for people looking to avoid
RW> detection or surveillance. Perhaps most importantly, it is largely
RW> self-policed — administrators of servers, as Discord’s group chat
RW> rooms are known, set their own rules and are responsible for
RW> keeping their members in line.
Post by RS Wood
Post by Computer Nerd Kev
More or less like a mailing list then.
If Discord is as centralized as a mailing list, then I suppose
it indeed does not quite deserve the attention it gets.
Post by RS Wood
Ha ha ha! I hadn't thought of it when I read it, but now that you
mention it, bingo. That's pretty funny.
Take nearly any _newfangled_ “web based ‘thing’” and you'll likely
find that some version of it existed as a text only system that too
many of the newer generation no longer even know existed.
Often the only real difference between the old text based version and
the new “web thang” is the ability to directly embed viewable images.
It’s possible to “directly embed viewable images” into emails
for something like two decades now.

Usenet articles too, although doing so will earn you a sheer
multitude of frowns from the regulars.

That reminds me (yet again) of Wagner’s “Children of Space”
sci-fi novel, where the availability of faster-than-light travel
but /not/ faster-than-light communication resulted in the
revival of Usenet (and seemingly UUCP) in the space colonies,
while Web is virtually unknown. So, basically, Usenet is the
spacians’ Web – images included.

(Also, the fact that there’s no hope you can reach the
“vendor support” with your issues in a timely manner means that
proprietary software is extremely unpopular with the colonists.)
--
FSF associate member #7257 np. Zenith — David Larsen 8916 3013 B6A0 230E 334A
Anssi Saari
2017-08-21 10:39:59 UTC
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Post by Ivan Shmakov
That reminds me (yet again) of Wagner’s “Children of Space”
sci-fi novel, where the availability of faster-than-light travel
but /not/ faster-than-light communication resulted in the
revival of Usenet (and seemingly UUCP) in the space colonies,
while Web is virtually unknown. So, basically, Usenet is the
spacians’ Web – images included.
Sounds like an interesting book. Do you have any more information on the
exact author or book name since I can't seem to find it.
Huge
2017-08-21 16:41:46 UTC
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Post by Anssi Saari
Post by Ivan Shmakov
That reminds me (yet again) of Wagner’s “Children of Space”
sci-fi novel, where the availability of faster-than-light travel
but /not/ faster-than-light communication resulted in the
revival of Usenet (and seemingly UUCP) in the space colonies,
while Web is virtually unknown. So, basically, Usenet is the
spacians’ Web – images included.
Sounds like an interesting book. Do you have any more information on the
exact author or book name since I can't seem to find it.
Usenet also pops up in some of the Vernor Vinge books.
--
Today is Pungenday, the 14th day of Bureaucracy in the YOLD 3183
I don't have an attitude problem.
If you have a problem with my attitude, that's your problem.
Ivan Shmakov
2017-08-24 14:15:26 UTC
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That reminds me (yet again) of Wagner’s “Children of Space” sci-fi
novel, where the availability of faster-than-light travel but /not/
faster-than-light communication resulted in the revival of Usenet
(and seemingly UUCP) in the space colonies, while Web is virtually
unknown. So, basically, Usenet is the spacians’ Web – images
included.
Sounds like an interesting book. Do you have any more information on
the exact author or book name since I can’t seem to find it.
It appears that there’s now a website, http://spacians.net/,
dedicated to the book. Or rather the ’verse, as I see there’s a
sequel (?) in active development [1].

[1] http://spacians.net/finfo?name=queen.mkd

Somehow, I semi-expected it to be translated into English by
this point. Sadly, it doesn’t seem to be the case, and the book
is still available in Russian only [2].

[2] http://spacians.net/files/spacians.html
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FSF associate member #7257 58F8 0F47 53F5 2EB2 F6A5 8916 3013 B6A0 230E 334A
songbird
2017-08-25 11:57:22 UTC
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Huge
2017-08-25 12:15:22 UTC
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...
Post by Ivan Shmakov
Somehow, I semi-expected it to be translated into English by
this point. Sadly, it doesn’t seem to be the case, and the book
is still available in Russian only [2].
[2] http://spacians.net/files/spacians.html
and then there is _A Fire Upon the Deep_ by Vernor Vinge
Which I already mentioned ..
(which is still a good read :) )...
That it is.
--
Today is Boomtime, the 18th day of Bureaucracy in the YOLD 3183
I don't have an attitude problem.
If you have a problem with my attitude, that's your problem.
C***@peak.oil
2017-08-20 14:25:01 UTC
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I've been using/playing around with bitmessage[1] for a while. During last
week's events in VA there was definitely alt-righties using it; lots of nasty
comments directed at "snowflakes". Since then it has been pretty quiet.

[1] https://www.bitmessage.org/
g***@gmail.com
2018-05-30 18:35:38 UTC
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doesn't matter what their politics are, people have a right to talk about whatever they want whether you like it or not
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