A wave of hatred against women swashes through the internet. Women in tech and more generally women on the internet are harrassed in the most cruel and intolerant way possible. Most of this is commited by a hate group under the banner of “Gamergate”.
I’m awed by the bravery of Brianna Wu and others who are still speaking out in the face of credible death threats. The perseverence of this raging hate against women raises the question: how can we, the open, free, tolerant people of the internet, cope with intolerance? We love free speech. We love freedom of expression. We would fight for these rights to our graves. A society without limits doesn’t work, though.
Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them. […] We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant. Karl Popper
Communication platforms like Twitter and Reddit need to address this. Twitter’s offical mission — stated on their website — is “to give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers.” If constant harrassment and death threats aren’t a “barrier”, I don’t know what is. You need to act, Twitter.
If the companies themselves won’t address it, we need to find another way to save democracy from the intolerant. For example, we can temporarily shut down websites that tolerate intolerance. Hate speech isn’t free speech.
With our tech startups and social interactions on the internet, we live and build the future. And we are locking out all women! We cannot allow ourselves to build a future that tolerates hate & violence. It is our obligation as humans to create a future that’s open to everyone — except the intolerant.