Untroll the internet: Pantsuit Nation

Normally this would be an Untroll Thursday but I think we all need something to sooth our hearts before US election result anxiety explodes all over us.

Vox reports on Pantsuit Nation, a secret Facebook group of 1.3 million Clinton fans:

Now that its membership has ballooned, the community has evolved from a place to coordinate Election Day attire into a place where members (of all genders and political parties, according to founder Libby Chamberlain) not only rave about their chosen candidate, but also provide moral support each to other in the face of what many feel is a hugely stressful run-up to voting day.

“We share stories about our grandparents, our children, and our families,” Chamberlain said. “We support each other during this highly contentious election season and have created a refuge from the vitriol that is sweeping the nation.” Administrators encourage members to adhere to the “go high” mantra made famous by first lady Michelle Obama, and so far, she says, “the response has been astounding.”

Beyond the election, things like this really do give me hope. Internet forums don’t have to be hives of shitposting and misogyny. Moderators can build positive discussion and lay down the law about the kinds of environments they want to oversee, and it doesn’t have to end just because a bunch of agitating douchebags scream about free speech. They have the rest of the internet, you know?

I see so many people – predominantly women – who have just stopped posting about the US election on social media, because even on their own pages they’re not safe from other people – predominantly men – being negative, disingenuous and outright abusive. Who feel they have to let those comments stand, or go unchallenged, because it’s not worth the grief and whinging and social stigma of rebutting even the most obvious bullshit.

We can have online spaces where people just squee about the things they love. We can set the limits for what behaviour is acceptable in those spaces, exactly the same way we set limits for what’s acceptable in our homes and communities. We don’t have to subscribe to the idea that sharing our platforms with people whose sole purpose is literally to antagonise and derail discussion is somehow noble or desirable.

Let’s make a better internet.

Untroll Thursday: Amazing JPL posters

Inspired by Megan MacKay, Thursdays are #UnTrollTheInternet Day, when we uplift the positive stuff on the internet to remind ourselves that this amazing global platform we share doesn’t have to be a force for vileness.

jpl venus poster

Damn, that’s pretty.

And – because the internet can indeed be a lovely place – that poster, and many others like it, are available online and free for you to print, courtesy of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Ain’t the internet a lovely place?

Untroll Thursday: Captain Awkward

Inspired by Megan MacKay, Thursdays are #UnTrollTheInternet Day, when we uplift the positive stuff on the internet to remind ourselves that this amazing global platform we share doesn’t have to be a force for vileness.

Captain Awkward is an online advice column which provides refreshingly good advice. It’s not that she tells you to reject all social obligcations and live a free life on a libertarian cruise ship; but she will remind you that it’s up to you to decide whether or not those social obligations are a net benefit or net harm to your health.

I get a little evangelist about her, and have even mimicked her style on occasion.

She’s every “but you have to come to Christmas dinner, it’s family tradition!”-complaining relative’s worst nightmare.

At 830+ letters answered and counting, CA can be a bit intimidating for newbies. Fortunately there is a handy FAQ covering core questions like how to start relationships, end relationships, deal with creeps in your social circles, and avoid the dreaded Darth Vader boyfriend.

Reading Captain Awkward has done wonders for my psychological and emotional health. Another fantastic thing brought to you by the internet.

Untroll Thursday: UpUpDownDown

Inspired by Megan MacKay, Thursdays are #UnTrollTheInternet Day, when we uplift the positive stuff on the internet to remind ourselves that this amazing global platform we share doesn’t have to be a force for vileness.

I love professional wrestling. I love computer games. I love silly mashups which make you look at people in a whole new light.

So yeah. I’m into UpUpDownDown, the YouTube channel dedicated to the superstars and divas of the WWE taking each other on in pewpew games. Good clean fun brought to you by the wonders of the internet.

Because let’s be honest, there’s nothing as funny as absurdly overmuscled dudes fighting each other through even more absurdly overmuscled computer-generated avatars.

 

Untroll Thursday

My favourite YouTube comedian Megan MacKay wants us to #UntrollTheInternet.

I’ve written before about a point she makes, which is that we can take responsibility for the comments we allow to be published on our content. It’s not just about one douchebag commenter and how we feel. It’s about all the other people who have to see abuse or deliberately-triggering language, on our watch.

And there’s another really important point Megan makes: We can disagree. We can have good active discussions. We can talk about dark, horrible things – and we should. But there’s a really clear line between discussion and hurling abuse, or making personal attacks,

Of course that’s something I’m guilty of, and whoever you are, reading this,

And we can uplift positive stuff, if only to remind ourselves that this amazing global platform we share doesn’t have to be a force for vileness. So taking Megan’s lead I’m going to try posting something fun, useful and chill each Thursday.

Let’s start with the Canadian comedian herself, who is side-splittingly funny.

For a grown-up version of the classic Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego, may I present Geoguessr, the game which drops you into a Google Streetview location … somewhere … and invites you to figure out where you are.

Chris Hadfield may no longer be orbiting our planet but his videos about science in space are still up.

And my latest favourite internet thing – though delivery fees to the northern suburbs are a bit of a bugger – is Food Ninja, the Wellington online food delivery service you’ve been dreaming about.

Happy untrolling, people.