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    • There are no checks and balances for the imagination, other than its inaccessibility by others.

      Prior to the advent of the Internet a theoretician proposing the existence of a conspiracy had to themselves fund, or through unconscionable effort persuade someone else to fund, the publication of a book, pamphlet, or news sheet to get “the truth” out. Print runs in the thousands were unusual, more commonl being hundreds at most. A person would be have to suffer questionable luck to wander into the path of one of these beacons of enlightenment, and opposing views were as easily accessed. More pages thus produced ended their existence cleansing the fundament of the proletariat than shining a light into the shadows.

      Now with the advent of blogs, video sharing, self publishing, and social media anybody can spread their "truth" like fertiliser, pasting over the underlying smell of decayed honesty with a veneer of learned pondering and secret knowledge.

      The lies grow like weeds, with falsehood's seed spreading on gale force winds born of righteous indignation and mischievous desire. Weeds so virulent that they easily outpace the voices of reason seeking their doom, seeds so fertile, so sure of their own integrity, that they grow readily in every young or uncertain mind that they encounter.

      Buddha believed that three things could not be long hidden: the Sun, the Moon, and Truth. Buddha may have been right in his world but would be sorely disappointed with the modern world. The third of his examples can be buried for a long, long time by simply overwhelming it with layer upon layer of occulting lies. Lies so dense, so compact, so opaque that the truth dies alone and starving in darkness.

      Orwell understood the modern world well, with his INGSOC society able to correct mispoken or miswritten history to the extent that remembering the truth, if there even was such a thing, became impossible. The light glimmering in this distopian outlook is that while the Internet allows lies to prosper it also records everything. Hope therefore remains that somebody who tires of the endless capering of the fools who spray their poison around like rosewater, seeking to convince everybody that the truth is just over here if you would but reach for it, can with due diligence find the burial place of truth and perhaps resurrect it.

    • I dunno, Igorrie. I am one of the formerly idealistic ones who thought the Internet would be the thing to shine light in the shadows. And it did for things like learning how to fix your water heater.

      Somehow it has taken us to a place I never thought imaginable. Consider this:

      Or this:

      As the cofounder of a platform that lets users publish things effortlessly, I can't bear the thought of making the world a worse place.

    • If you need yet another reason to hate Facebook, consider this:

      Naturally, a spokesperson said "We deeply apologize for this error" a statement that now means about as much as "thoughts and prayers."

      I don't know what the solution is, but in the short term, I think mega-platforms have to invest massively in human curation and editing to clean up their act. It's not like they can't afford it. Yes, I know that rules are hard to define, but there are many smart people who can do hard things.

    • I was across the beginnings of the Internet here in Australia as part of the teams that developed the protocols for the original X.25 gateways and the early networking systems. We only saw good things ahead, with world-wide sharing of information in almost real time and open intellectual borders.

      Shoulda known better.

      The early flame wars were a taste of things to come and while the WWW was a phenomenal creation it was soon swamped by the porn producers, gamblers, and shysters. Can you imagine the amount of bandwidth taken up world wide by bullshit? How much energy is wasted on absolute garbage?

      I am aware that my viewpoint is jaded but after 40+ years I just see the massive positive posibilities almost utterly destroyed by crap. Big business crap, personal crap, dark web crap, scammers' crap.

      Frankly, at this point, Cake is a little glimmer of light in a very dark tunnel.

      Perhaps I shouldn't post at 1 AM ... 🤷🏻‍♂️

    • Well, 90% of everything is crap, but we are free to ignore it. The 10% that is not crap is a huge leap forward for people all over the world.

    • Ugh, that Intercept article was painful to read. I was moderating new users last night and a seemingly earnest guy started his first conversation mostly about conspiracies he believes in that would make anyone who believed them angry and afraid.

      It wasn't anything we could allow on Cake but I could hear the familiar voices of my extended family in Southern Utah in his words. They are wonderful people who would do anything for a neighbor in need. They simply believe what they're watching together on TV. The invaders in the caravan in Mexico have smallpox and leprosy. There was an expert on Fox News who delivered that grim news for all to see. The president had to send more troops to the border than we have troops fighting ISIS to stop them, so great a threat they are.

      I listened to this Fresh Air episode on my bike ride last night and I thought of my family and the people who want to vent on Cake about the angry conspiracies they fear.

    • I suspect that saw that post. I thought that I had finally matured; I didn't jump in and attempt (futilely) to shout him down. That behaviour is for Twitter, Facebook, Google+ … It just didn't feel right in this environ.

      I made that most difficult of decisions: I ignored the crap 🤐. At least four times 😈.

      See? I can adult! There may be hope (for me) after all 😆.

    • Glad to hear that you're not going to let trolls get a foot in the door here.

      Thanks for the link. I agree that more than any other single person, Gingrich deserves the blame for beginning to undermine the effectiveness of Congress and poison the political process in general. I wonder how much longer the Democrats will resist adopting the same scorched earth tactics? Some have questioned whether they really should stick to the high road (for the most part). I sure hope they do, though, as I'm not sure democracy can survive without a commitment to truth and enfranchisement.

    • I hope that the Democrats don't utilise Gingrich's methods. Not only will they severely damage their support but they will also turn Congress into a bloodbath that will never achieve anything.

      As in, even less than now.

      American politics already utilises an adversarial system, obviously carefully nurtured by Gingrich; it doesn't need to turn C-SPAN into a MMA channel.

    • In another conversation, someone linked us to an Instagram post of an iPhone photographer. Pretty good, I was getting drawn in. I noticed he had a zillion hashtags below his post and I decided to click on #didntseethatcoming, which led me to this account:

      It feels like even Instagram, which was so positive for so long, has given up weeding accounts like this out or something. I wonder if this is a real person or part of a troll farm somewhere. It always feels so crazy when you realize you're trying to engage with a paid troll.