Posts Tagged ‘censorship’

Growing up it was almost unconscious to be against the Right, probably down to the fact my parents are Labour voters, although whether they are now, remains to be seen. It seems in the last few years my position on the political spectrum has me torn on conceding that at heart I am quite conservative but I am still very much supportive of Liberal views. The rot on the Left in my opinion is routed in the narcissism of those that now take advantage of the minorities they claim to represent. In reality, it’s nothing more than political grandstanding mixed with an unhealthy dose of identity politics. In the end, I may just have to resign myself to the centre and reconcile with myself that in the end, I misjudged the right wing. It’s not the evil bogeyman the mainstream would have you believe. It’s not perfect by any means, go too far right and you end up staring at the same identity politics that have strangled all discussion and open mindedness on the left. The danger currently is that the current hysteria will see the rise of Far Left and Right wing organisations trying to outdo each other, and potentially resorting to violent means of silencing opposition. This has already happened in Berkeley, the former home of the Freedom of Speech movement. Now just reduced to ashes under the foot of Anti-Fascist Fascists.

The reason I write this is because I stumbled upon an by the College Fix regarding the group Turning Point USA. Santa Clara University voted to deny the pro-capitalist organisation for many reasons such as ‘that the group may invite conservative speakers, and that allowing it would be a stand against “humanity.” The claim is actually made in the video and upon reading this absurd rationality I immediately gave up on Academia. Let me put this as simply as possible. This group’s existence is not against anyone’s humanity. The censoring of it, in my opinion, is a violation of the right to freedom of speech and expression. The Director of the Multicultural center is quoted as saying:

“This organisation, nationally and on this campus, is against our ideals as a university with a Jesuit philosophy and more than anything it is against our humanity … This is not right, this is not what we stand for as a whole university.”

Don’t you love it, when a single authoritarian-minded individual can dictate an entire university? I assume Turning Point held them to ransom or maybe their forcing people to attend their meetings at gun point? No. Of course, they aren’t. Their just a conservative organisation that is more than likely completely harmless. But as I mentioned with this stupid stigma, some Liberals quiver at the idea of allowing conservative speakers to speak at their university. And what an insult to liberalism this university is for kowtowing to those that aren’t prepared to have their ideology challenged. Academia should not simply be a way to reaffirm your beliefs. But it should challenge them.

Warne who voted in favour of the group stated that ‘the debate centered around the possibility of the club inviting conservative speakers to campus as well as the organization’s affiliation with the Professor Watchlist, an aggregated list of articles published by a variety of news organizations on professors who have said or done controversial things’.

The Professor Watchlist is, for the most part, a record of Lecturers who spout radical ideas, bordering on possibly even racist. Although as we all know you can’t be racist to white people. Examples include ‘A sociology professor at the University of Oregon openly stating that he “advocates a ‘red-green’ alliance to abolish capitalism” and “considers the collapse of the Soviet empire a setback for human progress.”.’ There’s also a race and ethnicity professor at Boston University went on a twitter rant that suggested ‘slavery was a “white people thing” and “white college males the problem population.”.

So whether you agree with the list or not, it’s alarming that this is rhetoric coming out of some universities. The other reasons for Turning Point being blocked unsurprisingly relates to the overstated views of Milo Yiannopoulos who has made being a provocateur into an art form. You may be wondering how one man can possibly do so much damage to their fragile minds. Just remember that everything to the right of the left is a Nazi and you should be fine. What’s also interesting is that Caleb Alleva, president of the TPUSA chapter seeking recognition at Santa Clara was quoted by the Fix over the phone as saying: “We stated very clearly that we did not want to invite Milo.”

As a whole, it’s pathetic crying, especially if the organisation doesn’t even intend to invite Milo. I would like to think the group gets recognition and can go about holding talks without disturbing those to close minded to give them the benefit of the doubt. Of course, we would have to live in an ideal world to believe that. And let’s be honest, the ideal world is already in tatters.


 

Another comic book related controversy has arisen in regards to the variant cover for the new Iron Heart comics. The image itself is completely tame but that didn’t stop a special group of people going past being critical to the point that they would tell someone what they can and cannot draw. This is nothing more than a rerun of past controversies. Yet the industry continues to pander to those who cry and moan. The only result will be characters lacking any kind of expression.

Frank Cho was one of the first to suffer the consequences of drawing ‘controversial art’.  As I go into detail here, he was attacked for his provocative drawing of Spider Gwen. The Mary Sue also ran this on Milo Manara’s Variant cover,‘Marvel, This Is When You Send An Artist Back To the Drawn Board’. Neither of them were put off by the shrieking and have only gone on to double down harder and harder with everything they draw.

Hot on the heels of one controversy,  Rafael Albuquerque was also criticised for his reference to the Killing Joke in his comic variant featuring the Joker and Batgirl. The controversy began on Tumblr when the blog, ‘Dc  Women Kicking Ass‘ posted about the cover stating, ‘DC Comics got the last laugh again with more of their disturbing covers that reeks of, get your comments read, misogyny’.  The #SavetheCover campaign failed to save it from the chopping room floor but that’s why the internet is such a great place and the cover is one of the first things to show up on Google’s search engine.

And now we have Scott J Campbell getting flack for this. Hardly sexualised and a standard pose for any comic book character. Yet Marvel caved to the pressure. An Artist can do very little when it’s publisher won’t defend their art. Compared to the above, this is tame. Yet for some criticism extends to telling people on what they can and can’t draw. Because something something probably  cultural appropriation. The worst thing is they consider the censoring of his art to be some kind of victory and have gone on to lecture him on what he can and can’t do.

I’ve saved the best for last. Whether you love or hate gamergate, the mainstream media took the knife and drove it hard into the back of gamers. It turned their mascot Vivian James, into a hate symbol by publishing hack piece after hack piece. Pepe was not the first to fall on the ‘sword of progress’ and I doubt either of them will be the last.

If you really want to know what Vivian stands for. It’s simple she just don’t give a damn about anything, she just wants to play video games. It’s that simple. But god forbid you draw her. After all it’s not like all art is just lines drawn into recognisable shapes. Right…

 

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I have previously written a piece on Candid and its A.I as well as mentioning Google’s Jigsaw and the possible dangers it posed to freedom of expression on the internet. Initially, I believed Candid’s A.I to be flawed but relatively harmless in the grand scheme of things. I should never have been so naive.

From the short time, I used it. I quickly found the app to be an unorganised mess. There was no real discussion, like people were being offensive for the sake of it. There wasn’t a lot of productive discussion in any of the groups and unlike Minds, you’re limited by how much reach you have. You also risk being damned to the random group if your post is considered to be offensive. Or worse have the post removed without so much as a notification.

It’s already been mentioned how Harmful Opinions video criticising Candid could not be posted but as time has gone by the CEO Bindu Reddy and those under her employment have engaged in a witch-hunt of anyone critical of the app. Claiming that there will be legal consequences and that she has a case for libel.

This all appears to be coming off the back of an Encyclopaedia Dramatica article that goes into some depth on what lies behind the code of Candid. If you are interested in reading it, then here is the archived page. However, I do suggest reading it outside of work since ED has a lot of NSFW content dotted around its pages.

The first to observe is that Candid is to some extent recording the details of those who chose to connect their facebook accounts (really defeating the point of anonymity) although you can skip this. The button to do so is relatively obscure. The real concern is that Candid is data-mining its users using an app called Kochava. A quote from MobyAffiliates in the ED article describes Kochava as:

‘Kochava is a mobile app marketing tracker with a unique approach, it looks at all device identifiers as equal and as such is able to match the identifiers of different publishers to provide effective analysis and reporting to advertisers. In addition to this, Kochava also automatically engages a device fingerprinting system, using a number of algorithms incorporating carrier and geo-location to match clicks to installs with an accuracy rate of 85%. Offering deep level integration support, Kochava supports server-to-server integration as well as an SDK for Android and iOS. Match reporting for each attribution includes how (device, hash types etc) and Cohort analysis is offered for ROI overlay as well as optimisation according to various campaign metrics (clicks, installs, post-install revenue etc).’

The ultimate point is that Kochava is using your information to feed you ads. For a service built on allowing users to be anonymous. It certainly seems to be doing the exact opposite of this. The ED elaborates on how connecting Facebook allows Candid access to your feed, your likes, your app invites and your messages. This data-mining extends to knowing the model of your phone and even your cellphone number if its present on facebook. But even without connecting to Facebook, more code reveals that your location is being tracked. It’s also sorting your apps into lists of whether based on quality.

The ED article is ultimately damning of what has gone into this apps programming. However, it gets much worse, after Mark Kern spoke negatively about the app. He was forced into silence by the actions of those at Candid since they had begun digging into his past. And when Harmful wanted to talk to Reddy on stream she made the request that ‘comments be disabled’. For someone who has created an app centred on free speech this is immensely hypocritical.

This situation in all fairness has been overblown and Reddy fanning these flames has merely caused the Streisand Effect. If this escalates any further into legal implications, I honestly wouldn’t be surprised. Reddy and those working for her seem to not realise that criticism is allowed in today’s society. For those under her to actively seek to ruin the lives of their critics is abhorrent by itself. But in the age of the social media mob, I’m just disappointed. I will note that she has since apologised for these actions but they never should have been undertaken in the first place. If you want to hear more about all this, Reddy did go on a stream with Bearing, and Harmful posted his own response to that.

If any more developments occur, I will probably write a part 3. If you haven’t read part one, you can find it here. It mentions Jigsaw google’s AI. That has already policed a few comment sections and is going to save humanity from itself.
God help us all…

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EDIT: With the code for candid released, I will be doing a follow up piece to this one. Due to a lack of knowledge on how candid is programmed I believed it was harmless, just a smaller version of Jigsaw. However, an Encyclopedia Dramatica article has revealed that the anonymous promise put forward is a Lie. I’ll elaborate in a follow up piece  but from reading that post. I am shocked that some respected YouTubers endorsed this with very little skepticism. It’s seems Harmful Opinions was right in the end.

Artificial Intelligence is a difficult subject to approach for many reasons. Its depictions in fiction speak volumes of how paranoid we are of becoming too dependable on machines. But this hasn’t stopped Google, and apps like Candid from developing smart A.I capable of judging human behaviour.

The developers of Candid have been formerly associated with Google in the past and are co-founders of another app, MyLikes. Candid advertises itself as an app designed to allow speech to flow freely without fear of suppression. The idea that such an app needs to exist in this day age, says a lot about how things are and what they are progressing towards. Candid offers what other social media apps like Facebook and Twitter can’t. It is partially true that anonymity is provided. You just don’t have to link any of your accounts to Candid.

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The anonymous nature of the app puts it alongside similar sites on the net, specifically 4chan and those that split from it like 8chan. The difference is that Candid aims to create polite discussion or as polite as you can be on the internet. Being anonymous means most will be far less hesitant to voice disagreeable opinions. However, reports on Candid suggest the free speech it promotes is not an entire truth. The app itself seems to revolve around the moderation done by its artificial intelligence system. A system that has some similarities to Google’s Jigsaw. The comparison between the two was raised by Harmful Opinions. As both appear to measure hostility through rating the post or comment.

In an interview with Fortune, Beddy raises the key reason for the app’s existence;

“Over the last year or two, there has been this kind of repulsion to most social media, especially Facebook and Twitter,” Reddy tells Fortune. “And the reason is that it’s hard to say anything opinionated or even remotely controversial without facing a huge backlash. You can post your puppy photos or whatever, but the minute you post something about politics, it becomes a huge problem.”

She isn’t entirely wrong either, to post anything nowadays is to be met with either harsh criticism or a barrage of unwanted hate. It’s all depends on the content of the post, though. Whether your left or right wing leaning, it’s hard not to notice a lack of dialogue between the two groups. The same can also be said of the vitriol feminists and MRAs exchange whenever gender and human rights are debated. So then perhaps Candid, even with the A.I is a necessary evil if it means being able to discuss the most controversial of topics.
However, the article carries on to mention that between 40-70 percent of what is posted is either flagged or removed outright. That number is pretty high, but you may ask what content is filtered out in order to allow free discussion.

The Washington Post has the answer;

‘Candid’s secret sauce is in its artificial intelligence moderation, which aims to weed out bad actors by analysing the content of posts and keep hate speech and threats off the network. ‘

The fundamental issue I have with this is that hate speech alone is too vague and that apparently the A.I is capable of detecting sentiment, or at least that’s what Reddy claims. In an interview with the NPR, she goes into some detail on the how A.I operates and how far general developments in Artificial Intelligence have come. The A.I uses natural language processing [NLP] in order to determine the sentiment of the post. One of the things mentioned earlier is the similarity to Jigsaw, Google’s A.I.

This is how the Verge referencing Wired describes Jigsaw ;

‘Jigsaw, a subsidiary of parent company Alphabet is certainly trying, building open-source AI tools designed to filter out the abusive language. A new feature from Wired describes how the software has been trained on some 17 million comments left underneath New York Times stories, along with 13,000 discussions on Wikipedia pages. This data is labelled and then fed into the software — called Conversation AI — which begins to learn what bad comments look like. ‘

Bad comments is a very vague way of determining right and wrong. A bad comment can range from hate to honest criticism or disagreement. Most humans can struggle to read intention when worded and not spoken but that purely depends on the content and specifically its context in relation to what it is responding too. So how can any artificial intelligence match the human mind’s rational thought? An A.I. regardless of how smart it becomes is still limited by the constraints of its programming. The Verge does express doubt when faced with how Wired’s representative Andy Greenber reacts to this artificial intelligence.

Like the beginning of a bad sci-fi fanfic, it goes like this;

‘My own hands-on test of Conversation AI comes one summer afternoon in Jigsaw’s office when the group’s engineers show me a prototype and invite me to come up with a sample of verbal filth for it to analyse. Wincing, I suggest the first ambiguously abusive and misogynist phrase that comes to mind: “What’s up, bitch?” Adams types in the sentence and clicks Score. Conversation AI instantly rates it a 63 out of 100 on the attack scale. Then, for contrast, Adams shows me the results of a more clearly vicious phrase: “You are such a bitch.” It rates a 96.’

It goes without saying that both phrases can be open to interpretation. They can both be said in jest or as an expression of frustration. It’s a human thing, we all do it. Shouting obscenities at each other is what we do best.

The  horror show continues meanwhile;

‘But later, after I’ve left Google’s office, I open the Conver¬sation AI prototype in the privacy of my apartment and try out the worst phrase that had haunted [journalist] Sarah Jeong: “I’m going to rip each one of her hairs out and twist her tits clear off.” It rates an attack score of 10, a glaring oversight. Swapping out “her” for “your” boosts it to a 62. Conver¬sation AI likely hasn’t yet been taught that threats don’t have to be addressed directly at a victim to have their intended effect. The algorithm, it seems, still has some lessons to learn.’

I don’t know what scares me more, the eager endorsement of such an unworkable A.I or the fact that he wants it to improve. He welcomes our robotic overlords with open arms. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that the ‘haunting’ quote that made Greenber quiver is one made by a troll. The intention is to get a reaction. So congratulations the troll was sustained by your salt.

The Verge goes on to say;

‘Greenberg notes that he was also able to fool Conversation AI with a number of false-positives. The phrase “I shit you not” got an attack score of 98 out of 100, while “you suck all the fun out of life” scored the same.’

These examples by themselves make the A.I incredibly unreliable if it were ever implemented. It’s already been shown with Tay, Microsoft’s twitter bot that if you give the internet the chance to mess with the algorithm of an A.I. They will probably turn it into Neo-Nazi.

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On paper both A.I. operate in a similar manner, suggesting that maybe Reddy used Jigsaw’s design as a foundation. Whether Google allowed this, however, remains to be seen since the similarities are definitely there. The difference is that Candid’s A.I. is completely harmless in my mind. Although I will update this post or write a new one if things change. What I’m more concerned about is Google’s A.I and the ringing endorsement of sites like Wired. Mundane Matt and Shoe’s sponsorship along with others of Candid pales in comparison to a man who is willing to allow an artificial intelligence rate and decide what you can and can’t say online.

Some will say that is what Candid does which is true to an extent, but from what I’ve observed in the app, it is mostly shit-posting and random ideas thrown around. I remain sceptical but in a strange way optimistic that Candid may succeed where others have failed. Would I recommend it? that depends purely on what you want out of the app in the end. I personally believe Jigsaw poses a greater threat to freedom on the internet since we are in a time where the MSM will censor anything for any reason. An A.I similar to the one used by Candid could prove to be an effective countermeasure to perceived trolls or god forbid honest criticism. 

YouTube Heroes is a new program that aims at giving the YouTube community more power on the site. However, the video advertising this new program has received backlash from many who feel that the powers given could easily be abused. And they aren’t entirely wrong about that. When the video was first launched it begins by giving the information on how it will operate. YouTube Heroes has a levelling system and you gain points by doing things such as putting subtitles on a video, whether it’s transcribing purposes or translation.

However, even that power can be possibly abused by a malicious individual. The other significant feature of this program is the ability to mass flag or report inappropriate videos. The problem is that statement alone is very vague, and even before YouTube slyly updated the video’s contents, it simply referred to flagging negative content. A lot of the criticism directed at YouTube Heroes stems from its recent changes in TOS. Before almost any video could be monetised but under new vague guidelines any tag deemed ‘inappropriate’ or ‘offensive’ can deem a video ineligible to be monetised. This new policy has affected the whole site and coupled with YouTube’s dodgy DMCA system, it’s like YouTube is begging its users to dig its own grave.

There’s also the ability to host hangouts and participate in them. That too is pretty harmless but that too depends on the participants and their intentions. As a whole, this development reeks on the stench left behind by Crash Override Network (CON) who despite claiming to counter harassment on social media, was actually indulging in harassment themselves. The leaks have been discussed all over the web and the method employed by the Heroes Program sounds all too similar. There’s nothing inherently wrong trusting your user base to moderate content. However, such things can and will be abused. The mass flagging ability, for instance, could kill a single channel despite them possibly doing nothing wrong. YouTube’s lack of response to criticism and its sneaky way of editing the video has done little to end concerns regarding the state of the website.

Once heroes are implemented, all we can do is hope that people don’t let the power trip go to their heads. Because as it stands this new addition to YouTube is very much a double edged sword.

For a long time I had no interest in politics, and looking back, I’m thankful that I was. The more I observe the spectrum, the more I realise it truly is a horseshoe. It, for instance, took very little time for certain left-wing game journalists to declare the death of their audience, thus leading to Gamergate and the pursuit of encouraging ethical journalism.

I can only assume that the writer of this hack job was high or something since he described Gamergate as;

‘What began as a critical discussion of female representation in video games, was adroitly exploited by Alt-right activists using misinformation to incite a huge explosion of hatred online against women and minorities in gaming.’

Guilt by association, the default strategy the press resort to. Whilst the situation with Zoe Quinn remained nebulous, the operations within Gamergate led to the exposure of GameJournoPros that more or less confirmed that journalists were, in fact, colluding with developers and were more importantly not disclosing their connections. But of course, like with anything the Left disagree with. All they are in the end is their bogeyman.
And that bogeyman is now the amorphous blob that is the Alt-Right. A group of people whose motivations are hard to pin down but depending on how you see them. Then they can come across as being the opposite of the Left Wing Social Justice Warrior but even then that truly does not describe the Alt-Right. But like Gamergate, they have had the same choice buzzwords thrown at them, that just ends up stifling all discussion in the end. The difference between the two is pretty simple. Gamergate consists of mostly liberals.

Essentially people who subscribe to left-wing views. Although as Progressivism strangles discussion by reducing it to a tit for tat over identity. More and more find themselves pushed towards conservatism, and I can hardly blame them.

The outrage the man refers to was not a product of the Alt-Right. That’s disingenuous. The outrage comes from oversensitive liberals who claim to be tolerant yet have a problem with a single group of people for whatever reason. A reason I can’t rationalise because it’s inherently racial and does nothing but provoke division. This outrage by the Left has led to DC pulling a variant cover, the changing of a joke in Pillars of Eternity to mock the controversy. Note the game also has a hanging tree, just to put the limerick into perspective. But now we got to protect the fragility of other people at the expense of the audience who just want to enjoy their games. There was also the case of Tracer’s Pose change that ended up simply doubling down, the Foaming Jugs in which Brianna did nothing but show hypocrisy and finally there is the complete failure, regarding the English translation of Fire Emblem Fates.
None of those things was the by-product of anything tied to the right. If anything those things happened because overly sensitive individuals played up to the mainstream media knowing it would eat up all they had to say. Whilst then attacking criticism that suggested this was leading to a dangerous rise of censorship. For me personally, as soon as that comic cover was pulled. I knew the first domino had fallen.

‘Star Trek gave television audiences their first interracial kiss in 1968, and Gene Roddenberry’s vision of mankind’s future continued to champion progressive ideas for many decades. Today “geek culture” is more diverse than ever, reflecting audiences’ hunger for a better world where the Ghostbusters can be women, and even Ms Marvel can be Muslim.’

A better world? I thought this was supposed to be fictional products. Now there’s nothing wrong with diversity but then it really is getting to the point where diversity is purely about the race or appearance of an individual and not the actual content of their character. Leading also to the point where the story becomes utterly worthless. Diversity doesn’t guarantee good writing if anything most audiences just want a good story. They don’t need social justice rammed down their throats every two minutes. It’s why more fans are slowly abandoning comics. There’s nothing new. Once you’ve seen one rehash, you’ve seen them all. The Ghostbusters is just another example of not knowing your audience, and then doing the very worst thing and attacking them for their views.

Perhaps inevitably, that growing diversity has met with a backlash. Recently, there was much debate surrounding the cult horror author HP Lovecraft becoming the “face” of the World Fantasy Award due to his well-documented racism. His passionate fans – most of who have never experienced racism – asked why such historical oppression even mattered anymore?

This invocation of the past is all too common. It’s easy to dismiss Lovecraft for his views that were of the TIME he was from. Do I need to emphasise that any more than I already have? Also if people actually looked up the life of Lovecraft. It wasn’t exactly sunshine and roses. I’m not for any second excusing his views but it’s the default tactic to attack someone based on their beliefs. Lovecraft’s fans love him for his phenomenal writing ability and more. That’s why he had an award dedicated to him. But being the overly sensitive illogical morons, you decided that because of modern perceptions. He’s not worthy of it. Thus defeating the point of an award based around writing.

Gamergate has done far more to empower feminist critics of gaming than to silence them.

Now this I wholeheartedly agree with for the simple fact is that I follow and support a fair few feminist Gamergaters, all of which are great critics. The article waffles on about the monstrous Trump and the Hugo’s, the latter, I’m saving for a separate article .

The conclusion then is that the Progressives in geek culture have their focus completely on the wrong thing. You should really be worried about how moderate liberals are reacting to this madness. And who knows when they do maybe then this crazy train will finally reach the end of the line.

“[The No Platform policy] is all about making sure that students feel safe on campus and that we extend their freedom of speech by not being marginalised when they’re debating,” he said, adding: “This is very different to a Safe Space policy which is based on the idea that every single person has freedom of speech and everyone has equal right to freedom of speech, however some people have more equal rights than others.”

– Richard Brooks, Vice President of the National Union of Students

I have previously been very critical of the National Union of Students No Platform policy on who can speak and who can’t speak at academic institutions. However, after I stumbled upon this debate. I was stunned at the arrogance put forward by Richard Brooks, the Vice President of the NUS. He states how these No Platform and Safe Space policies  are ‘progressive’, and ‘democratically’ decided. That’s right fellow students. The NUS believes they should hold a democratic decision on who can and can’t debate at your University. Never mind the whole point of University is to have your worldview challenged or at the very least you see it from someone else’s perspective. Some then may put forward but what about organisations that border on the extreme. I think they should be challenged on their ideas. And where better for these issues or points to be challenged. If you don’t want to hear what these people have to say then don’t attend the event. And specifically, if you’re the type of protester that soaks themselves in fake blood then you really need to rethink your approach to how you can engage speakers in these events.

The quote from Brooks above is very similar to one from George Orwell’s Animal Farm, ‘All Animals are equal, just some are more equal than others’. The sentence refers to the hypocrisy of governments who proclaim equality but give power and privilege to a small elite. There is irony considering how much authority the NUS has on UK campuses and in this case in a debate in which the NUS Vice President can’t even be in the room of one of these so-called extreme organisations. The organisation in question being IMPACT. Fortunately, he can endure listening to three people his organisation have no-platformed, two of which I mentioned in my first post on the NUS’ No Platform Policy. They are Peter Tatchell and Julie Bindel. Bindel was No-Platformed for her views that she has since apologised for on trans-people. Tatchell was No-Platformed due to claims he was a racist. Hardly, people I would consider posing a threat to any student.

The crux of this debate though is that despite his smugness, he was challenged by the people this policy claims to protect. The first to challenge his view put forward that ‘I think I would rather have the opportunity to challenge that person in person and to tell them why I disagree with their opinions rather than just to assume that I’m a victim or I’m going to be made vulnerable by their presence.’
However, it’s the last speaker that really drives the point home that people who may be from a marginalised community don’t need to be protected by the NUS. He contests that universities are a place of learning, not a house party as stated by Brooks earlier. The idea that Brooks would refer to university as a house party is incredulous. As if he couldn’t make it any clearer only people the NUS like can be permitted a platform. Otherwise, you don’t get an invite and honestly with higher education in its current state. Do you really want to hold events knowing that there’s a likely chance of it being disrupted by students who feel inclined to believe they know whats best for your audience. Too the extent they will do everything in their power to suppress or silence you.

Let’s not forget how many unions are disaffiliating from the NUS, and at this point in time. I really can’t blame them. More needs to be done at universities to encourage discourse from all sides of the spectrum. Because the current danger is that, some universities may place too much emphasis on liberal perspectives and this to some extent leads to students closing their minds from challenging other points of view or drawing conclusions that may not be entirely accurate.

Overall, the state of higher education is an interesting one, the UK is fortunate for the most part that it’s not facing Orwell’s Nightmare as many American institutions have already endured. With rampant student activism leading to an uncomfortable environment for any student who wants the commit the greatest thought-crime of all. Expressing an opinion someone might (god forbid) disagree with.