I Heard It On The Internet

Like I said earlier, Someone On The Internet[1] made a pretty big assertion:

“Mods are asleep post X” is a pedophilia-normalizing meme and it will never be cool or ok

– User A [1]

I’d never heard that before, though I’d seen the meme format a bunch. So I looked at KnowYourMeme, which doesn’t back that up. After more than 350 words, it finally says:

It is also possible for some users to request image dumping threads for CP (child pornography for short). If a thread is not unironic, it will be quickly deleted by moderators of the site because the posted contents can be illegal and violate their local law.

So I said that was all I found and asked a related question. To which I got told that was “bullshit” and the history given there was trying to “normalize pedophilia”. So I did some more digging and could only find a reddit thread where someone said they’d heard of that usage.[2]

So I thought about how the alt-right and 4chan have trolled us and how I know people have been mistaken on etymology before, so I asked if the whole thing might be trolling, and if there was a reference they could point me to.

Which is when I started getting told that I was “gaslighting” them. And then others started to explain to me that I should “just staph” and that I had “ignored warnings” and to “do due diligence on my own dime instead of demanding receipts”.

The point here – isn’t “poor Steven”. Nor is it “dogpile on these other people”.

It’s that we must remember that “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”… and that the person making the claim doesn’t decide what’s extraordinary.

The claim of the etymology of a word or phrase isn’t particularly extraordinary – though maybe we should rethink that. Claiming that a phrase normalizes a practice is a much more extraordinary claim.[3]

I get that explaining everything repeatedly is a huge burden, especially if you don’t have a lot of privilege. Yes, people – particularly people with privilege – need to do the research themselves whenever possible.

At the same time, that doesn’t mean one gets carte blanche to publicly make a huge, potentially damaging assertion and then get upset when asked for a source.

Featured Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash

[1] It ain’t about shaming a person or two, so I’m anonymizing them.
[2] Even then, the reddit thread claims the images were hidden inside innocuous images (steganography).
[3] Because the claim is a decade later, the thread “Mods Asleep: Post Uplifting Memes” is also normalizing pedophilia.

For reference, so it’s not just my summary, here are anonymized screenshots of the conversation.

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