Meta Question

SmashTheState's avatar

Knowledge of surveillance creates self-censorship. Is this why Fluther has become an echo chamber?

Asked by SmashTheState (12814points) March 29th, 2016

Fluther has not aged well. As numbers of participants have dwindled, the range of opinions being expressed has contracted, with people who find the atmosphere stultifying quietly kicking Fluther’s dust off their sandals and departing to leave an increasingly orthodox clique who all share the same narrow range of beliefs. A new study out of Wayne State University shows that simply the knowledge of the existence of surveillance creates an echo chamber effect where people self-censor to avoid expressing a minority opinion.

Does this study provide an explanation for why the handful of people still squatting in Fluther willingly smother whatever handful of opinions contradict the reigning groupthink?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

70 Answers

dappled_leaves's avatar

Is this why Fluther has become an echo chamber?

zenvelo's avatar

Surveillance? There is no more surveillance here than anywhere else on the internet.

canidmajor's avatar

You do find ever-changing ways to express your ongoing dislike for all things Fluther, yet you still come back. Again and again. To tell us that we are (not quoting, but this is indeed the gist) sheep and products of the Establishment if we don’t choose to be part of your Establishment.

NerdyKeith's avatar

Well to be honest, I think Fluther could have more activity. Honestly I think the question allowance limitations has probably turned a lot of people off. If it could be increased just a little, maybe more new members would stay. I’m not suggesting unlimited questions, but maybe 5 questions a day. Maybe allow users to be rewarded with extra questions if they get a certain level of great question stars in one day. That would be an incentive.

But you appear to be talking about the moderation on Fluther. I don’t agree that Fluther is moderated in such a way that it censors anyone. The moderation of content is purely out of interest to improve the quality of content in terms of grammar. I don’t see why this would be a factor in losing potential members.

Its interesting that you bring this issue up, because I’ve just had a difference of opinion with a fellow user. And quite frankly, I had no issue being honest about my views. There is no censorship on this website, we are free to express our opinions openly and honestly.

If you are so worried that more views of your liking are not being raised, then raise them. Thats what I’m doing. I’m questioning topics that I want to talk about.

Here2_4's avatar

Or, maybe not hating those who arrive with differing opinions.

chyna's avatar

@Here2_4 I, along with many others, go out of my way to welcome newbies. Do you?

flutherother's avatar

Surveillance and groupthink are two different things. I think the latter is more important in how people express themselves here.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Wow, I mean wow, finally some are getting the revelation I seen way, way back. Is there actual surveillance? Not in the classical sense of spying, but if you take into account the monitoring of the collective of what is said and how, then yeah. If people leave I believe it is more that they are choked out, like a plant strangled by weeds. For a place that is supposed to be so enlightened, or certainly more enlightened than those other Q&A sites, there is not much light here, or varied opinion, or the desire to entertain such. It is more a pat-your-back party of who can hold the narrowly viewed lagoon beliefs better especially when not truly engaging anyone with a different opinion, and debunking it or besting it with sound logic but with like-minded high-fives. Just imagined if all those who thought the world was flat were succeeded in quenching all thought the world might actually be round. So, Fluther is less of a place to actually see new pathways but a place where people who think alike can validate each other with lurve to believe in their mind they are truly correct because the masses of Fluther said so.

Coloma's avatar

Dude, this is so you, always complaining, a walking grievance just looking for a cause yet, you always return to spread your Eeyore doom and gloom and paranoia and contempt of all things Fluther.
There is no Fluther conspiracy going on here in an attempt to censor and survey anyone, it’s all in your head and if you don’t like the vibe here just take your bullhorn and go shout from another roof top. Clearly you don’t play well with others and somehow I think this is a familiar pattern in your life, always the oppressed and persecuted. Lord…this record is so old and yet it spins on.

Smashthegroundhogday.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Fuck yes Er no. Everything is fine . echo.

dammitjanetfromvegas's avatar

I’m not a fan of The Beatles

easy with the hate guys. I’m sensitive

cookieman's avatar

I never thought paranoia could become so tired and uninteresting and yet…

And, to be blunt, if you, Mr. @SmashTheState and you, Mr. @Hypocrisy_Central are so unhappy here in the lagoon, why do you stay?

Tell you what, you come to my house and abuse my hospitality with your rhetoric and divisive comments and negativity, I’d toss your asses out.

Clearly Bendrew et. al. Are far more tolerant than I.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Well I’m hoping to be able to talk about astral traveling one day. In public. I had a question removed 4 years ago that the answers could have kept me from being committed. My psychiatrist won’t talk about it.

zenvelo's avatar

The only real surveillance is I answer a question about Landmark Forum and Scientology, and now I get Scientology ads on Facebook.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@cookieman And, to be blunt, if you, Mr. @SmashTheState and you, Mr. @Hypocrisy_Central are so unhappy here in the lagoon, why do you stay?
I could say that of those who time after time drop into question threads I posted when they believe it to be total nonsense to them. If the question challenges their logic and sacred cows the best way is to put it down with sound logic rather than duck, dodge, and hide behind some unrelated issue or attack the reason for the question (talk about paranoia conspiracies). I am still around in limited fashion because I have yet to build (of find) a better mousetrap that is still up and running; had I, I would have dropped Fluther down the toilet like it was hot, not lain it down like it was warm. Part of the reason I hope after a hiatus the climate and questions would have improved, so the hope of a better Fluther keeps me checking in, but one day you can get happy because I will see this place has hopelessly stuck in one bandwidth and I will be gone.

ucme's avatar

Echo? Where are the Bunnymen?
I was hoping for a Flock of Seagulls

syz's avatar

I disagree with your premise. This has always been a largely liberal site (with certain exceptions) – the issue is that there are so few of us and we know each other so well, there are no surprises.

I mourn the lack of “experts”. Remember “everyone’s an expert at something”? The site used to be a mix of factual queries and opinion pieces. Now it’s essentially an opinion site.

jca's avatar

Fluther has become a small community of friends and acquaintances, and now and then, a newbie. It is what it is. @SmashTheState, if you have any ideas on how to make it better, do tell. Otherwise, if I haven’t seen someone in six months and then they knock on my door and ask to use the toilet so they can take a shit, that doesn’t endear them to me too much.

janbb's avatar

@jca Great metaphor!

And newbies do land here occasionally and sometimes stay. Ask @Nerdykeith who has set up a permanent tent on our lawn. And some grouches and contrarians – I mean people of differing opinions – stay like Jakx and SecondHandStoke and CWOTUS.

It sounds to me like you have a commitment problem – you don’t want to stay and yet you just can’t quit us.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

There are exceptions

CWOTUS's avatar

On the other hand, @jca, I guess it’s preferable that they ask to use the toilet rather than showing up and mentioning that, “Oh-by-the-way, your lawn looks so pristine and uniform to everyone else’s that I took a dump on it. You old fogy.”

jca's avatar

Ideally they’re visiting on good days as well as when they’re looking for a place to take a shit.

Kardamom's avatar

^^ And bringing you a cake, preferably one of them Jamaican cakes : )

jca's avatar

Yes, I might allow someone to stop by and take a shit if they have Jamaican Black Cake in hand. hahaha

Kardamom's avatar

They could bringing it coming, and leave it on your lawn going. Ha ha ha : P

Brian1946's avatar

The acoustics in my bathrooms make them great echo chambers, so all jellies are welcome!

dappled_leaves's avatar

@Brian1946 But will we all fit in your bathtub?

janbb's avatar

@Brian1946 Could you put a little more ice in it please?

Tinbobtina's avatar

I’ll bring the soap lol

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

impulse response…. interesting.

jca's avatar

I see the OP has sent a nice “fuck you Fluther” message to us all on his profile page. To me, to do that is being childish, like “look at me, don’t forget I hate you.”

As I said before, long time, no see and then wants to use the toilet to take a shit.

cookieman's avatar

It’s a shame as @SmashTheState can have some interesting perspectives. Too bad he’s so immature.

janbb's avatar

^ I agree – he’s very intelligent and knowledgeable and when he’s not bashing us, he’s a good contributor.

canidmajor's avatar

And yet he keeps his account open and active every time he has a tantrum. He’ll be back with another “echo chamber” Q in a few months.

jca's avatar

I work for an organization that a lot of members will bitch about, non-stop. They bitch bitch bitch with their negativity but never have a productive suggestion. This is what I’m reminded of here with this thread that was started. If Fluther is not to your liking, either make some positive suggestions to improve it or find another site (or create another site) that is more to your liking.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Which one is that?

Seek's avatar

Oh, good, it’s been a month since @SmashTheState last showed up to complain we’re not anarchist enough for him. I was worried something had happened.

Nice to see you, bro.

janbb's avatar

@Seek I guess we can be flattered that we’re considered enough of an institution that the anarchist is looking to destroy us!

Berserker's avatar

It’s a small community so I guess it’s bound to happen, whether it’s groupthink or censorship created by surveillance, or what have you. Obviously if it is as such then it’s a subconscious act, as we’re not as organized or powerful enough to make this happen willingly. But I don’t think it’s really that, because look anywhere in Fluther and you’ll find people debating and disagreeing on many subjects. I believe I’ve told you this before?

The fact that this happens may prove you wrong. If not, then I must be the odd one out as I don’t feel close to most people here therefore I don’t care if newbies or veterans agree with me or not. Pretty sure I’m not the only one. Then again I don’ really do he debate thing, so perhaps I’m not seeing what you’re seeing.

canidmajor's avatar

It’s been my experience and observation @Berserker, that @SmashTheState doesn’t actually debate or even argue. He cherry picks words or short phrases from some of the responses to his questions on which to base his various rants.
He used to be able to answer the questions of others with well thought out responses, but I haven’t seen that recently.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

There is some serious groupthink here though. Most of the people who don’t go along with the fluther status quo have left.

Seek's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me – Let’s be honest – most of the people period have left. Not just the Christians, not just the conservatives. Remember NSFW Friday with ETPro? Remember Simone and JeanPaulSartre? I was gone for over a year before Gail was dying.

canidmajor's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me: if you are referencing “groupthink” by this definition: From Urban Dictionary:
TOP DEFINITION
Groupthink
The act or practice of reasoning or decision-making by a group, especially when characterized by uncritical acceptance or conformity to prevailing points of view.

To accept the general opinion of the group to which a individual either belongs too or wishes to belong too. To adopt the unreasoned and unfounded BS that someone spouts off as either Truth or Fact”.
Dave said to the group “McDonnalds makes the best burgers”. within the next day every other member of daves group had repeted the same opinion as if it was fact and start taking their dates to eat Big Mac’s.

Then I think you are missing the concept of humans congregating and socializing with somewhat like-minded people. Agreeing with others is not necessarily “groupthink”. In the real world I don’t tend to relax and hang out socially with those with whom I regularly argue; for me, and for some others I’ve talked to, Fluther is a relaxing activity. If I want everyone else to think differently and argue and be contrary, I’ll spend the time with my family.

Coloma's avatar

@canidmajor Exactly. You either enjoy being here, don’t get overly invested in any drama, move on easily if you have a spat with another member and if you want to go, just go, no need for a bunch or dramatic entrances and exits. Nothing wrong with enjoying the company of like minded folks. Fluther is like any social outlet, in real life or online.If it’s a fit great, if not, don’t complain about how it should be different, just move on minus the histrionics.

I’ve had a few head butting moments with other members over the years but I don’t hold grudges and have never left because the site wouldn’t change for me.

canidmajor's avatar

This is actually not the only discussion site on the Internet. I hope that @SmashTheState is as generous with his snits and rants to bunches of other places, I’d hate to think that he wasn’t sharing his disgust with everyone.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I do miss some of the diversity here, I think we have like 20 active users now. I don’t agree with most people here on things but I still come back. At least discussions usually center around what I find interesting.

Jak's avatar

This site is teaching me lessons all the time. I’m a different person than I used to be five years ago, and hope that I continue to evolve. Still working on my people skills and trying to remember that the way I see others is a refection of how I feel about myself. I get annoyed easily by “Does he like me?” questions and other things. So I consider this a great place to try to learn and grow towards being a nicer/better person.
I read this person’s rant as well. How very disagreeable he seems, both by the look on his face and his words. I believe that he spends a lot of time being angry. And very little time, if any, being happy. A site full of people like him would by necesssity fall apart, I believe. There was a time I would have dismissed him as a loudmouthed troublemaker looking for a fight. Now I just feel sorry for him. This man is his own worst enemy and will probably never be happy. His approach is counterproductive and deliberately adversarial.
Pretty sure I’m not echoing anyone, now or ever. (well, I did agree that one guy was a cunt, but all that evidence has been removed!) ;-)

fluthernutter's avatar

@jca Haha…that sounds like a euphemism. Hope no one leaves any “Jamaican Black Cake” on my lawn!

jca's avatar

@fluthernutter: No, it’s a real cake, black and very boozy. If you google it, you’ll find recipes. They say it’s a lot of work to make but it’s really good.

canidmajor's avatar

I love how the “1984” thread has become a cake thread.

janbb's avatar

I baked chocolate chip cookies for my grandkids who are coming today. Does that qualify me for membership in the echo chamber or am I an outlier?

canidmajor's avatar

Baking cookies is definitely a sign of an RWA! Ack!

longgone's avatar

Come over to the echo chamber, we’ve got cookies.

jca's avatar

I’ll come to the echo chamber without cookies. Add cookies and it’s icing on the cake!

janbb's avatar

^ Talk about a mixed metaphor!

canidmajor's avatar

And “Cookies!”, shouted into an echo-chamber increases exponentially! Unlimited cookies!

However could this be a not-good thing?

janbb's avatar

Where’s our cookieman? Cookieman? Cookieman? cookieman/ cookieman?

canidmajor's avatar

ad infinitum

CWOTUS's avatar

Forget about cookies. I want someone to make me a sandwich.

janbb's avatar

Dat you, __bob__?

jca's avatar

How about pancakes? I’ll take some of those.

Coloma's avatar

I want apple fritters, someone mentioned those yesterday, can’t quit thinking about them. haha

cookieman's avatar

Someone called? Penguin?! Is that you my feathered friend?

janbb's avatar

Yup, yup, yup

jca's avatar

Apple Fritters, apple pancakes, blueberry pancakes….. Mmmmmm.

Brian1946's avatar

The assertions of the OP are patently ridiculous.

Echo chamber indeed, hmmmph!

Echo chamber indeed, hmmmph!

Echo chamber indeed, hmmmph!

…..............................................!

jca's avatar

Echo Echo echo

canidmajor's avatar

I love the irony of @SmashTheState‘s use of the term “echo chamber”, as he is one who uses Fluther to so often repeat himself.

Kardamom's avatar

Some Funyons and wine coolers would set him straight.

Answer this question

Login

or

Join

to answer.
Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
or
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther