Self reblogging to add a thing I found:
The account @Anti_Racism_Dog didn’t last long. Twitter suspended it quickly, a fate reserved only for the most aggressive, abusive and hateful users. What could a dog – an anti-racist one, at that – do to deserve it? @Anti_Racism_Dog had one real function: to bark at racist speech on Twitter. The account responded to tweets it deemed racist with the simple response ‘bark bark bark!’ Sometimes it would send wags to supporters but that was pretty much it.
For the short time it lasted, it was amazing to watch how people reacted to @Anti_Racism_Dog. The account would respond mostly to what the sociologist Eduardo Bonilla-Silva would call ‘colour-blind racism’, that is, racisms that are generally right-libertarian in orientation and justified through appeals to supposedly objective discourses like science and statistics. It’s a notoriously insidious white-supremacist ideology, a virulent strain evolved specifically to resist anti-racist language. Colour-blind racism defends itself by appeals to neutrality and meritocracy, accusing its adversaries of being ‘the real racists’. Although its moves are predictable, they’re hard to combat rhetorically since they’re able to ingest the conventional opposition scripts. Colour-blind racists feed on good-faith debate, and engaging with them, especially online, is almost always futile. But when they’re barked at by a dog, one whose only quality is anti-racism, they flip the fuck out. They demand to be engaged in debate (‘Tell me how what I said was racist!’) or appeal to objective definitions (‘The dictionary says racist means X, therefore nothing I said was racist’), but @Anti_Racism_Dog just barks.
@Anti_Racism_Dog inverted the usual balance of energy in online dialogs about race. Precisely because the dominant global discourse is white-supremacist, it is rhetorically easier to make a racist argument than an anti-racist one. Look at almost any comment thread or discussion board about race and you can see anti-racists working laboriously to be convincing and to play on their opponents’ ‘logical’ turf, and racists repeating the same simple lines they were taught (‘I didn’t own slaves’, ‘I’m just stating the facts’, ‘The Irish were persecuted too’, etc.) ‘Trolling’ as a certain kind of internet harassment is tied to time: the successful troll expends much less time and energy on the interaction than their targets do. It’s the most micro of micro-politics, an interpersonal tug of war for the only thing that matters. But have you ever played tug of war with a dog?
A true troll doesn’t have a position to protect because to establish one would leave it vulnerable to attack, and playing defence takes time. @Anti_Racism_Dog, by fully assuming the persona of an animal, was invulnerable to counter-attack. You can’t explain yourself to a dog and you look like an idiot trying. The only way to win is not to play but this is the colour-blind racist’s Achilles Heel: they’re compelled to defend themselves against accusations of racism. It’s the anti-racist argument that gives them content; theirs is an ideology that’s in large part a list of counter-arguments. After all, white-supremacists are already winning – their task now is to keep the same racist structures in place while making plausibly colour-blind arguments against dismantling them. @Anti_Racism_Dog was empty of anything other than accusation and so left its targets sputtering.
The account served a second purpose: as a sort of anti-racist hunting dog. @Anti_Racism_Dog quickly attracted a lot of like-minded followers who understood the dynamics at play. Whenever it would start barking at another user, this was a cue to the dog’s followers to troll the offender as well. There’s only so much one dog can do alone. Colour-blind racism is particularly dangerous because it isn’t immediately visible as such. It provokes good-faith discussion from liberals about what counts as racism, muddying the water. But @Anti_Racism_Dog’s strategy draws new lines about what constitutes acceptable discourse on race, placing colour-blind racists on the other side by speaking to them like an animal. What would be taken as totally insane in flesh space can be infuriatingly clever online.
THIS ARTICLE HAS TEETH
I WANT ANTI RACISM DOG BACK
fuck twitter Im going to go delete mine
useless piece of shit it is
Oh, my god. This is brilliant.
Lovely post by Ken Hollings on the spectral “non-people” haunting twitter:
If you examine their profile a little more closely, these accounts usually have just 22 tweets (occasionally 20 or 21 but I have yet to see one with more than 22). They are usually worth examining, however, as that is where the strangeness really starts. Often the tweets take the form of words in unconnected strings (and I but have but when we but I never but) or selections of quotations from established names, but which have been put through some kind of weird syntactic blender (he need regarding knowledge, such as thirst for money increases previously while using buy it - laurence sterne) - or finally they form themselves into the kind of cryptic arrangement of images that Raudive would have instantly recognized as emanating from another world (organic mathematicians training it carefully).
I… have some thoughts as to their origin: one is that these ‘non people’ started out as being one of the millions of artificially generated followers which were originally intended to enhance the popularity of some corporate enterprise or media sensation. However, they have somehow broken free of their lonely non-existent crowd and are now wandering the Twitter-sphere in search of someone to follow and have fallen into your orbit - or it may be that they have somehow replicated themselves and it is the digital echo of their non-presence that has now decided to follow you. One aspect of their behaviour that supports this assumption is that a ‘non-person’ will sometimes attach itself to a conversation you are having with one of your real followers, as if they were somehow hovering on the edge of your exchange - shy but anxious to take part. Their contribution would, I suspect, turn out to be entirely unsettling if it were allowed to take place.
One thing is clear to me at this stage: just as the digital spectres that haunt architectural renderings of new buildings find themselves occupying a non-existent space that is barely contained within two dimensions, so these digital non-people that haunt Twitter are a new form of being that do not inhabit the same dimension as us. Do they have anything to say to us? That, I would suggest, is another matter for another time.
via Simon Sellers
Of the 2,927 people, around 41 users were certifiable psychopaths according to the personality test. Everyone else fell into a spectrum.
The results show that there are “a number of statistically significant correlations between an individual’s darker personality traits and their Twitter activity”, according to Florida Atlantic University’s Randell Wald. They also discovered links between users’ attitudes to privacy, their personality traits and their twitter use.