In the opinion portion of Kurzgesagt’s most recent video, they suggest that going back to small forums, bulletin boards, etc. will help people deradicalize and become more empathetic. The idea behind this is that, just like real life, forums allow people who disagree on certain things to bond under a shared interest or identity; this makes people more receptive to those disagreeing opinions and more empathetic towards the people that hold them. I’d watch the video if you haven’t, as it’ll make more sense then.

My question: do you agree with this? Do you think returning to separated forums will help in the way Kurzgesagt suggests? Do you think it’d be a good idea for other reasons?

My opinion is that while I don’t have an issue with individual forums, I’m very skeptical of the idea that they’ll help solve extremification like the video claims. Kurzgesagt says that these forums are like real life, but I see a few issues with this claim:

  • On forums, people maybe be just talking about the thing that the forum is about. For example, if you’re on a forum about Minecraft or cats, you’re not going to be discussing differing political opinions — in fact, such conversations are usually frowned upon. This is different from your real life community, where you’re going to be talking about all sorts of different topics.
  • Many forums are about the very things we don’t want people extremified on. Look at lemmygrad or hexbear, which might as well be their own forums given the massive amount of defederation from them. Or, for a less extreme example, go to r/antiwork — you won’t find much disagreement there (that isn’t buried into obscurity by downvotes, anyway). These places can potentially create dangerous bubbles that Kurzgesagt says are rare online, and that could get even worse if, for example, political subreddits became their own forums entirely.

These are just my thoughts immediately after watching the video, so I’m curious to see what others think.

  • @lambalicious
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    26 months ago

    Forums already fixed the internet back in the 90s. We just undid it. And have to pay the price.