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Hatewatch is dead, long live Hatewatch

By RareHeintz in MLP
Sat May 12, 2001 at 05:19:40 PM EST
Tags: Internet (all tags)

As this article in Salon notes, Hatewatch is shutting its doors. Some see it as the end of an era in fighting hate speech on the net.

David Goldman, Hatewatch founder, says that he feels Hatewatch's original mission has been accomplished, and that the Internet has proved a double-edged sword for hate groups - that even as it helps them recruit and disseminate their platforms, it also puts their bigotry in the spotlight, where it does them more harm than good.


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Is the 'Net good or bad for hate groups?
o Bad, it makes their idiocy too public 11%
o Good, their message wouldn't get out otherwise 5%
o Better, now that Hatewatch is gone 7%
o Bad, it makes it easy for the FBI to find them from whois records 7%
o On the net, nobody knows what color you are 16%
o Good, hate groups must be fought with intelligent speech 24%
o I'm starting a love group! 27%

Votes: 54
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o article in Salon
o Hatewatch
o Also by RareHeintz

Display: Sort:
Hatewatch is dead, long live Hatewatch | 23 comments (20 topical, 3 editorial, 0 hidden)
Hate is like a festering wound (3.28 / 7) (#1)
by Nafai on Thu May 10, 2001 at 12:40:18 PM EST

If you cover it up and pretend it's not there, the wound only gets bigger and uglier.

If you open it up and allow light and fresh air in, you allow the healing to begin.

now *that's* stupid (5.00 / 1) (#23)
by streetlawyer on Mon May 14, 2001 at 07:33:08 AM EST

Please, please, don't get either medical or political advice from kuro5hin. If you ever have the misfortune to suffer a septic wound, cover it with a clean dressing and change the dressing regularly.

Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]
Patently obvious (3.80 / 5) (#2)
by weirdling on Thu May 10, 2001 at 12:46:24 PM EST

People are fundamentally good. Most of them, anyway. So, there are only so many people who will join aryan groups. Now, that is their business. Just because little Timmy hears about aryanism over the internet doesn't mean he will become an aryan. Been saying this for a while. The more a thing is done in the open, the more likely the truth is to fly.
Now, if certain censorship groups had had their way, this kind of thing would never have happened...

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
The fallacy (none / 0) (#4)
by ucblockhead on Thu May 10, 2001 at 01:08:07 PM EST

The fallacy here is the belief good people can't be led astray by bad groups. There were a lot of good people in the Nazi party in 1930's Germany that were manipulated into doing some very bad things.

(Not that I agree with censorship, but it is unfortunately much more complex than you make it out to be.)
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]

Nazi Germans (none / 0) (#7)
by weirdling on Thu May 10, 2001 at 02:28:41 PM EST

I agree that periods of mass mis-behavior are common, but I don't think Nazi Germany would have been possible without the economic forces that allowed Hitler to take power; people were desparate in Germany. Also, once in power, Hitler proceeded to limit the available countervailing opinions, which the internet does not do.
In other words, I don't think it was so much good people being led astray but desparate people being duped. Of course, the idea of freedom of information being a good way to stop this sort of thing is only successful if all information is available and none is restricted.
However, still, many Germans didn't follow Hitler.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
Nazi Germans (5.00 / 1) (#11)
by mami on Thu May 10, 2001 at 09:06:57 PM EST

but I don't think Nazi Germany would have been possible without the economic forces that allowed Hitler to take power...people were desparate... don't think it was so much good people being led astray but desparate people being duped.

Following that logic, all the desperate geeks, who loose their jobs in the .com failures and other technology downfalls, would be very prone to fall for the wrong propaganda, right ?

Why should the broadcasting of such propaganda over the internet be different in that regard than any other medium ? At least the radio has all flavours of political talking heads, and there is no obvious reason to believe that the internet is protecting people from being "led astray". If Salon.com tries to make you believe so, then because they did themselves. That was probably wishful (and self-serving) thinking.

I tend to believe that people usually only hear and see what they expect (and want) to hear and see. This being said, I conclude that the *amount* and the *frequency of repetition* to what people are exposed to seems to play a much more important role than the availability of freely distributed, diversified content.

For example, you can observe here on K5, that even the best efforts in a discussion among people, who supposedly have different political opinions, to point to material and facts via links online, has very little effect. People can't be influenced very much against their own pre-set minds.

The ones, who can pull themselves out of a journey into an extreme paths of thinking, are usually brought to this point by events, which touch their emotional state of mind and not their intellectual. (Actually that goes also the other way around, most people turn into extremist beliefs triggered through being hurt emotionally)

This is most probably true. For example, in the twenties and thirties, among German families, siblings and couples were highly divided in their opinions about Hitler's propaganda. And you can be sure that each family member had the same amount of access to the information.

There have been parents, who couldn't stop their kids to oppose and kids who were responsible for their parent's arrests and transfers in labor camps through the NSDAP. There were brothers and sisters who became opposed to each other.

Only under severe pressure, faced with turning in your child, brother, sister or parent, to whom you felt emotionally connected, family members were able to act against their intellectual own convictions. Usually people can't cope risking the life of someone they love. Without that pressure each family member just would straight away believe what they want to believe, independent of any well intended attempts to convince each other from the opposite.

Therefore I conclude, that quantity and repetition of broadcasts play a more important role in subversive propaganda than one might think. The influence of freely available, diverse information to protect people from to being mislead into "one-sided thinking" is not that powerful. I am not saying that free information is not absolutely crucial, but less than usually assumed. Quantity makes a huge difference, not only quality.

[ Parent ]

You conclude against your argument (none / 0) (#20)
by weirdling on Fri May 11, 2001 at 12:17:03 PM EST

First you state that no amount of pointing out facts, discussion, &c. here on K5 ever seems to change anyone's mind, then proceed to say that mere repetition of falsehoods can do so.
I do agree that mostly such radical philosophies are caused by events of an emotional nature in their lives. However, the easiest way to proof your children against such is to provide a warm and loving environment to which they can run so they have a safe harbor. This will do a lot more than stopping the incoming flow of evil ideas, as the children are entirely capable of coming up with those ideas themselves.

I'm not doing this again; last time no one believed it.
[ Parent ]
not quite that simple (none / 0) (#21)
by mami on Fri May 11, 2001 at 12:53:41 PM EST

However, the easiest way to proof your children against such is to provide a warm and loving environment to which they can run so they have a safe harbor.

Am I to conclude from this that millions and millions of German homes in the twenties and thirties were not loving environments which offered a safe harbor for their children ?

No comment.

[ Parent ]

Aryan? (none / 0) (#22)
by Tsuraan on Sun May 13, 2001 at 12:27:37 AM EST

Isn't being aryan more of a matter of race than that of political stance? I believe that I have just as good a chance of becoming aryan by watching hitler as I have of becoming black by listening to King. Correct me if I'm wrong, of course (not that that's necessary to say)...

[ Parent ]
It's one way to look at it. (4.20 / 10) (#6)
by jabber on Thu May 10, 2001 at 01:22:59 PM EST

The people behind Hatewatch apparently got around to reading Sirens of Titan, and realized that it is a perfectly valid method of contribution to the overall wellbeing of the Universe to not necessarily strive to do the most good, but rather to simply endeavor to do the least harm.

Not unlike 2600 choosing to shut it's doors in an effort to prevent subversive and arcane knowledge from falling into undisciplined hands which would use it for promoting the cause of entropy.

It appears that Hatewatch realized that by keeping tabs on online hate sources, they were providing a singular resource and catalogue of these to seekers of same.

Or, maybe they took a long hard look in the mirror, and realized that in their hateful persecution of hate, they became what they beheld, and chose suicide as a means of decreasing the amount of hate online.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"

Ahh, the mandatory anti-PC comment... (3.50 / 4) (#10)
by liberalmafia on Thu May 10, 2001 at 08:55:06 PM EST

These days, whenever an article appears about hate groups and those who oppose them, it's invariably followed by someone like this guy denouncing the opponents as being haters themselves.

Somehow, by some bizarre thought process, NeoNazism and white supremacy are being transformed into laudable protests against "political correctness". No matter how vile an action is, twits will rally behind it in the name of fighting PC, the current version of Red-baiting.

But I'm oddly reminded of a sigline I saw on a black-metal forum: "I'm not gay. I have sex with other men as part of my opposition to Christianity. It's a political statement." What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander as well...

[ Parent ]

Ahh, the mandatory anti-anti-PC comment (5.00 / 1) (#13)
by jabber on Thu May 10, 2001 at 09:23:40 PM EST

These days, whenever a comment appears about any subject and how it can be mocked by those who find humour in it, it's invariably followed by someone like this guy denouncing the content of the comment because they have a pedantic compulsion to be contrary.

Somehow, by some strange thought process, sarcasm and snide remarks are being transformed into actual opinion and statements of fact. No matter how patently ridiculous the original comment is, twits will take it upon themselves to respond to it as though it were serious and mature, the current version of high strung neurosis.

But I'm oddly reminded of a sigline I occasionally use on other web sites. "There's no need to change the world. All we have to do is toilet train the world, and we'll never have to change it again."

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
[ Parent ]

You forgot... (3.00 / 1) (#15)
by liberalmafia on Fri May 11, 2001 at 06:00:22 AM EST

... to accuse me of trying to censor you and of being a "feminazi" into the bargain.>;-)

You did not contribute to this discussion in the least with your accusations that HateWatch is itself based on hate without a shred of supporting evidence; you simply voiced the knee-jerk anti-PC rant.

[ Parent ]

A rose by any other name? (5.00 / 1) (#17)
by jabber on Fri May 11, 2001 at 09:30:41 AM EST

I didn't voice a rant of any sort.. I just poked fun at the article by writing a post that implied I was taking it seriously and being 'an open minded liberal' - when in fact I've never been to the Hatewatch site, and didn't even click through on the link(s). And it wasn't so much 'knee-jerk' as it was 'late lunch boredom' - but I wouldn't expect a censoring feminazi to look at it that way. ;)

I thought the post was amusing, and as such it did contribute to the discussion - or at least to my enjoyment of it. And there might be a grain of truth to it as well. I don't know if Hatewatch was very active or at all rabid about tracking and exposing hate groups, but certainly there are people who will go on a Jihad to voice their opinion and cram it down someone elses throat (this thread being a case in point).

Entropy for it's own sake is a waste of time. But a little bit of randomness to get the memes to mutate is sometimes amusing. Is it too early to say Have A Nice Day?

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
[ Parent ]

For what it's worth (4.00 / 11) (#8)
by dennis on Thu May 10, 2001 at 02:43:17 PM EST

About half a year ago I was looking at some website's list of hate sites, not sure if it was this one or not. I found a link to a guy who was written up by Dave Barry for firing up his grill with liquid oxygen. Not a bigoted word on the site, but apparently the fact that he played with something explosive got him classed as a hatemonger.

Which made me a little more sceptical than I had been of these "hate" lists. It just seems to me they tend toward knee-jerk stereotyping - "Aryan militia types play with explosives, you made something go boom, you must be an Aryan militia type!"

We've seen the complaint, let's see some action... (2.60 / 5) (#12)
by liberalmafia on Thu May 10, 2001 at 09:14:37 PM EST

Hopefully, instead of merely mourning the loss of Hatewatch, someone reading the article will step in to fill its shoes and take Dixit's suggestions to heart.

I'd particularly like to see hate groups' fundraising efforts be monitored. I want to know if my buying a product of some innocuous-looking company puts money into the hands of a William Pierce or Tom Metzger.

Others could definitely learn from Hatewatch's example and its mistakes, and continue its work.

Hope (3.00 / 1) (#14)
by raz on Fri May 11, 2001 at 04:17:36 AM EST

Well, let us hope that this statement is reality and we don't have to see the hate sites grow and grow after the shut down.

Censorship (2.00 / 4) (#16)
by 2400n81 on Fri May 11, 2001 at 08:18:29 AM EST

advocating censoring hatethought and hatespeak is still censoring, no matter how much of a spin you wanna put on it.

good riddance to an idea that was lame from the beginning.

Well... (4.00 / 1) (#18)
by RareHeintz on Fri May 11, 2001 at 10:33:29 AM EST

As I understand it, the point was never to censor bigoted speech or thought, but to put it out in the open - to keep it from operating where the rest of us couldn't see it. The idea being, of course, that bad ideas (not always, but often) don't do so well under increased scrutiny.

I don't know where you get your information - Hatewatch didn't deny anyone freedom of speech, they just exercised their own.

- B
http://www.bradheintz.com/ - updated kind of daily
[ Parent ]

And I for one... (2.66 / 3) (#19)
by Sairon on Fri May 11, 2001 at 11:00:07 AM EST

Couldn't be any happier. This made my day. Maybe more of these groups will give up now that we've got adults running the U.S. government.


Hatewatch is dead, long live Hatewatch | 23 comments (20 topical, 3 editorial, 0 hidden)
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