Tag Archives: Anita Sarkeesian

“Well At Least They Allow Comments”

For a while now I’ve found the trite complaint of a closed YouTube comment section to be vapid. (Equally so the stale honor or praise of leaving it open.) But just today I took another step in my understanding of the issue.

When a comment section is closed, to a YouTube user, it feels like their only method of communication (or complaining, harassing, etc.) with the YouTuber has gone. That’s in part why it’s perceived as valuable. It’s the habitat they’re used to; it’s what they see as the clearest, most direct form of feedback.

And to a certain extent it certainly is. My Pavlovian response to a YouTube video ending is to scroll down. This is something I fight, because in the vast majority of comment sections, there is nothing of value below. It’s still the most immediate place to see responses, though.

YouTube comments for a long time have been treated as this “standard discussion forum” across the Internet, available around most videos online, when in fact its evidentiary purpose is for hurling shit and making jokes so lazy they’d make Reddit cringe. The comment box is ubiquitous on the Internet Locus For Viewing Moving Pictures, so it makes sense that it became the collective dumping ground. To see a space carved out to not be made messy (by closing comments) seems counter to the entirety of YouTube culture. PewDiePie crossed that line and quickly went back.

This YouTube culture is the same one that would bring the phrase “free speech” into the equation, even though YouTube is a company that can do whatever it wants with your comments, and comments are on another person’s channel who has full right to delete them or ban people for any reason. Comment spaces are only as free as its owner allows them to be, and they don’t Hate Freedom if they choose to curate more closely or close them altogether.

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How far the Thunderf00t has fallen

Thunderf00t, or Phil Mason, is a YouTube personality and former (?) member of the atheist/skeptical community. Years ago he made great science videos and responded to creationists with hard facts and copious snark. He took a hard right turn around 2012 when feminism and progressive ideas began being incorporated into the atheist/skeptical movement. Now that snark is aimed at causes I hold dear, so I see it for what it is.

I don’t know how I drop in on one of Thunderf00t’s videos so often. I argue with people a lot, so links to his content and channel are on my periphery occasionally. Maybe he shows up in recommended videos while I watch other YouTube videos. I know I sometimes venture on to his page to remember what disappointment and anger feel like.

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Re: Women as Background Decoration: Part 2

Anita Sarkeesian released another installment of her long-running series Tropes Vs Women today. I highly recommend checking it out!

Whether you do watch or not, I want to highlight some of the more egregious examples she shows and expand upon some very salient points. The video stands alone just fine, but I argue these topics enough that I relish the opportunity to agree and respond to some really bad design examples.

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Re: If I Were You, “Persistence”

If I Were You is a comedy advice podcast where a comedic duo, Jake Hurwitz and Amir Blumenfeld, give sometimes-sincere, sometimes-silly advice to people who write in asking for it. They’re open about the fact that the show aims for humor first, often cherry-picking ridiculously improbable submissions to play off of.

The two sometimes answer serious questions in positive, healthy ways. The are generally accepting, sex-positive, and analytical of the situations they are presented. But at times I have found myself frustrated with responses to questions, especially about relationships, that either miss the obvious answer, lead the person astray, or perpetuate a bad culture.

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