Here’s the Altfurry blocklist – a powerful tool to reduce hate spam.
by Patch O'Furr
Have you ever hung up the phone on a jerk? Frozen out a bully who acted like a wasp in your hair? Rejected a stalker who can’t stop asking to sniff your socks? Shut the door on a creep who wants to get you into a crackpot religion, or to sign a petition to legalize hunting at zoos? Blocked spam to sell you a miracle cure for crotch rot, made from the powdered toenails of a peruvian jungle sloth?
Good. You stood up for yourself like an adult and moderated a nuisance. And now the power is yours to do it better than before. At least with one hate group.
The Altfurry Twitter blocklist (updated 9/24/2017 – now on Blocktogether)
- Download the file. Go to Twitter: Settings > Blocked Accounts > Advanced > Import.
- Preview allows screening by eye. It’s your choice to verify each block.
- The blocklist is often updated. Check this page for fresh info or subscribe to Blocktogether.
Oh no, blocklist sounds like “blacklist.” At least if you don’t think too hard about simply separating signal from noise. But blocking is a self-defense against nuisance. A list empowers you with crowdsourced support to moderate your boundaries. And if you’ve been ganged up on, it can handle aggression like jiu-jitsu, especially the more widely it’s used.
Right off the bat, expect predictable complaints. It’s as if standards which everyone uses (like spam filtering, or SFW limits for a group) are somehow antithetical to a free-floating ideal of universal “free speech.” It’s as if there’s no community attached, everyone is for themselves, and consequences don’t exist. Supposed enemies of free speech might point to the National Communication Association and the difference between censorship and moderation. (Paraphrasing added):
Moderation is the practice of prohibiting speech in a particular virtual community by authorities within that community. (Crowdsourced in this case, the authority is you.) A topic that is moderated on one virtual community can be communicated elsewhere, so those who wish to discuss it can migrate.
When there is no moderation, the effect of a large number of irrelevant or hurtful messages can be the same as censorship; that is, a group’s ability to discuss a particular topic is curtailed and members leave.
There is one circumstance where community migration is not feasible- when the community is opposed by an adversarial group. An adversarial group defines itself as the opponent of another group. Nazis and creationists, for example, are opposed to Jews and evolutionists. And any group that exists online must communicate its beliefs, as there is no online presence without communication. To assert their identity as an adversarial group, the adversarial group argues with the opposed group. The relationship between the adversarial and opposed group is inherently parasitical.
Conversely, the opposed group does not necessarily define itself in relationship to the adversarial group. Jews and evolutionists would generally prefer that Nazis and creationists leave them alone.
Without moderation, when a member of the adversarial group communicates belief to the opposed group, the value of the virtual community decreases for every member of the opposed group. For opposed groups, adversarial group messages have properties identical to censorship.
So “free speech” isn’t a consequence-free ideal. Freedom can be self-negating without a sense of community. What does this say about the altfurry blocklist?
- Alt-furry (alt-right or “alternative furry”) behaves like an adversarial, parasitical group to furry fandom. Notice there’s no “fandom” in altfurry. They act like the only thing in common is selfish media consumption. But there is a community. Moderation supports it.
- This applies to Twitter, not between government and public. And online filtering and moderation goes back to the days of Usenet. However this kind of social media eliminates the cost of it to benefit the company. Moderation is left to your personal work.
- When you have free speech, that doesn’t mean a right to scream in someone’s ear when they walk away. Blocking is freedom of association. Don’t let anyone tell you not to use your freedom or expect you to be a pushover about it.
What are the sources for the list? The team that assembled it (which doesn’t include me, I’m a messenger) used this criteria:
- Much of the list is Altfurry Discord users, seen in the logs where you can verify why they are listed.
- Several lists were merged that include observed supporters for altfurry.
- Hundreds of accounts were checked individually by hand – there is no algorithm.
- Toxic trolling is another reason for being listed; this isn’t about “politics,” it’s about quality-control.
Communication makes a better solution:
- To make a case for not being on the list, comment here. (Again, I don’t add anyone and will pass messages.)
- @AltFurryBlocker on Twitter is a more direct method to reach the team.
We are proud to introduce Version 1.0 of the AltFurryBlocker block list, available via BlockTogether! 😺 https://t.co/QU7cT7HeXt— AltFurryBlocker (@AltFurryBlocker) September 24, 2017
Have you released any information on what your criteria is for inclusion on the block list? I'm seeing some questionable names on the list.— Historical Vengeance Daddy (@TheSteelShep) September 24, 2017
Broadly speaking, deep dives of certain hashtags, Twitter account post history, cross referencing Twitter accounts with FA and Discord..— AltFurryBlocker (@AltFurryBlocker) September 24, 2017
How to use it actively and why it matters:
- No tool is perfect. It calls for being part of an active solution and being informed (it’s better than complaining but doing nothing, right?)
- Altfurry is a tiny splinter group so the list isn’t an unmanageable mass of thousands without transparency. You can judge it by eye.
- There will always be way more members needing this than wanting it gone. Each supporter makes it stronger for everyone.
- Nazism has nothing to say. It was killed and discredited generations ago and isn’t up for debate. But some would welcome it back if they could.
- Forgiving is easy and requires honest change. Instead Altfurry chose to obscure their most racist elements from public view but not repudiate it internally. They work to provoke reaction to falsely depict opponents as aggressors and milk it for attention. Being on the list is avoidable by not wedging open a door for nazism, and just owning their shit. When that doesn’t happen the community has a right to moderate itself.
- If they want to use this to find others to follow, they can out themselves and make the list easier to manage.
- Honestly changing is how people who landed on the list can make it unnecessary. Until then nothing is stopping them from enjoying an alt-fandom without trashing this one.
Coming soon: FurAffinity blocklist and Do Not Commission list.
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