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Be advised; this thread is not for serious in depth discussion of weighty topics, this thread is not for anything Culture War related. This thread is for Fun. You got jokes? Share 'em. You got silly questions? Ask 'em.

We have somehow survived another move.

I feel like a broken record here, but, seriously, good job everyone, and thanks. While the moderators of a community are important, the community simply doesn't exist without its members. Y'all came over here and kept on posting, and that's exactly what we needed.

With luck, this is going to be the last move we ever need to make; we have our own domain and servers, we're no longer really existing with any specific other person's permission.

We are, however, not out of the woods.

I mentioned during some of the original Reddit-exodus posts that I had a serious medium-term worry about userbase. We've cut ourselves off from the Reddit pipeline and that means we're in danger of slowly eroding away; people will always leave the community and right now we don't have a good way of getting new users. We wouldn't be the first community to do so! Every community needs an influx of people, and now we need to figure out the right way to manage that.

So I now have a few requests, ordered roughly by how comfortable I am asking it.

First: Send links to people that you think will be interested. If you know someone looking for political discussion, send them a link to the site as a whole; if there's a specific post you think they'll be interested in, link that. Remember that we have The Vault, which has unfortunately gone a bit neglected while I worked on this changeover. Please don't spam anyone - I don't want anyone just posting links to our front page on a hundred subreddits - but if you have a good opportunity, either regarding friends or communities that you're an established member of, take it.

Second: Propose places that might be willing to do a link trade. I'm planning to reach out to a bunch of subreddits shortly and see if they're willing to crosslink, especially places that are serious-political-discussion-adjacent in the hopes that we can draw off that section of their population and both be better off for it. If you have personal connections you can bring it up to them yourself, otherwise just let me know and I'll see what I can do. I expect a low success rate but even a low success rate might be pretty dang valuable.

(And don't limit this to subreddits! There's a number of good communities out there that aren't on the big social sites.)

Third: If you have time, help out. We have a dev server that you can join if you want to work on a huge number of pending issues, and it's thanks to the people on this server that we've had such a constant flow of updates, fixes, and tweaks. If you're less programmery but more editorial, we do have a lot of Vault-related editing that we'd like to get done; this goes faster than you might think. If there's some other skill you have that you think might be valuable, hop on the dev server and send me a message.

And finally, fourth, which is the one that I really hate to ask, but I'm doin' it anyway.

I've set up a Patreon to take donations. If you have spare cash and think this is a worthy destination for it, please chip in.

I'm not sure what this whole "money" thing is going to end up looking like. At the very least this will pay for server costs; any income above that will go into making the site better, in whatever way seems most valuable. I've been thinking about taking out ads in an attempt to pull more users here, for example, and that isn't cheap.

This is going to be very experimental and will probably involve false starts. I'd love to hear suggestions on good ways to spend money on the site - if you have any, let me know - but note that in order to hire programmers we would need a lot of money.

For those who are more crypto-minded, I'm also taking donations via Ethereum (0xa97e126DCEcC7Ea3AF05d252B49c03ae35547dD9) and Bitcoin (bc1qnj0mvg90dfawjq3kxq4wdvcq0ejksgyf2m0xnq). All of these links are on the new (and very primitive) Support page.

I know there's going to be people who think that we left Reddit just so I could cash out. I frankly suspect that even if I just pile all of the results into a giant sack with a dollar sign on it and walk off while cackling evilly, I still won't be making minimum wage, so this would be a terrible plan :V No, I do actually like this community a ton, and want it to keep going, but I can't fund an indefinite amount of stuff on my own. And part of this push is to figure out just how useful this site is to all of you, in order to see what can be justified and what can't be justified.

So there's the ask! If you have connections, use them; if you have time, contribute it; if you have money and want to put it towards this, please provide financial support so I can figure out how to keep the new-user pipeline going.

If you don't, that's cool! Keep on posting and I hope you enjoy your time here.

Finally, this is the new Bugs/Suggestions/Small Comments thread. If you have feedback, post it here! A lot of the stuff in that Pending Issues link up above was submitted by users, and we're getting through it slowly.

This weekly roundup thread is intended for all culture war posts. 'Culture war' is vaguely defined, but it basically means controversial issues that fall along set tribal lines. Arguments over culture war issues generate a lot of heat and little light, and few deeply entrenched people ever change their minds. This thread is for voicing opinions and analyzing the state of the discussion while trying to optimize for light over heat.

Optimistically, we think that engaging with people you disagree with is worth your time, and so is being nice! Pessimistically, there are many dynamics that can lead discussions on Culture War topics to become unproductive. There's a human tendency to divide along tribal lines, praising your ingroup and vilifying your outgroup - and if you think you find it easy to criticize your ingroup, then it may be that your outgroup is not who you think it is. Extremists with opposing positions can feed off each other, highlighting each other's worst points to justify their own angry rhetoric, which becomes in turn a new example of bad behavior for the other side to highlight.

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On an ad hoc basis, the mods will try to compile a list of the best posts/comments from the previous week, posted in Quality Contribution threads and archived at /r/TheThread. You may nominate a comment for this list by clicking on 'report' at the bottom of the post and typing 'Actually a quality contribution' as the report reason.

The phrase "light only comes from heat" sounds so judicious. Who wouldn't want a pleasant, decorous argument where everyone respects everyone, no one's feelings are hurt, and plenty of light is generate, but no nasty heat.

Yet, if you think about it, where else does light come from but heat? Things that are very cold give off no light, yet everything that emits light will also be hot. If you don't like heat, you've no desire for light. If you want light, you musk risk heat.

Speaking from my own experience, it is the forceful, honest and clear arguments that have persuaded me, or have at the very least lodged the seed of doubt in my own mind, not those who argue by endlessly trying to flatter me, or search for middle ground, or who pretend to respect my argument more than they actually do.

All truth seekers should expunge this silly cliche from their vocabulary.

I end with the immortal words of John Milton:

I cannot praise a fugitive and cloistered virtue, unexercised and unbreathed, that never sallies out and sees her adversary, but slinks out of the race where that immortal garland is to be run for, not without dust and heat

Do you have a dumb question that you're kind of embarrassed to ask in the main thread? Is there something you're just not sure about?

This is your opportunity to ask questions. No question too simple or too silly.

Culture war topics are accepted, and proposals for a better intro post are appreciated.

Posted because I didn't see Zorba post one today. Feel free to delete if that's an issue.

Scrolling trough window sort of works with great marking of new comments but is quite absurd.

Also, if new comment is hidden in some "show more comments" branch one will not spot it.


I'd prefer comments or questions here on account of site being pretty young. Long live The Motte!


I noticed that the comment counts don't seem to line up with the total comments on this post, and a couple others. Do we already have shadow bans in place here, or is this just some delay issue?



For discussing the move away from Reddit.

Do you have some separate web app? I don't really see what the difference is between this and something with Angular or whatever.

Because it isn't obvious


Gab - hacked. Truth social - hacked. What if they come for us? The rdrama codebase probably isn't perfectly secure! Chrome or firefox has layers of sandboxes, a hundred different gadgets like 'stack protection' or 'W xor X', and still has a new RCE every week. rdrama can probably be trivially owned if someone googles all the dependency versions for a few hours. also, lol commit history, 'sneed'. If that happens - what leaks? i guess just associations between stored ip addresses (if they are) and post histories. And IP can reveal a lot, or nothing, depending on where you live, ISP, etc. Combine that with a post history referencing improvements you made to your house or your occupation ... might be bad.

Practically, seems incredibly unlikely anyone will care enough to do anything, it's a small community and the essay format gets in the way of 'omg these rightwingers grr'. But, always good to ponder potential security issues. Also, you wanted content, so content.


Recently it was widely reported that the – to use its lengthy official name - Monument to the Liberators of Soviet Latvia and Riga from the German Fascist Invaders was destroyed by local authorities in the Latvian capital. This is certainly not without precedent, as numerous Red Army monuments have been removed in the Baltic states and also in Poland, Czechia and other nations formerly in the Warsaw Pact, many of these decisions being clearly driven by events in the Ukraine since 2004. I think we on this forum are mostly aware of the talking points used to justify their removal so I won’t bother to repeat those here. Instead I’d make the simple assumption in this particular case that those Latvians who support this decision are clearly unhappy with the direction their national history took in the past, and ask the question what sort of past they’d have preferred to have. I suppose this is a relevant Culture War question in Eastern Europe.

Let’s suppose, for the sake of argument, that Operation Barbarossa begins as it did, and then history develops differently. From then on, I think Latvia had the following options:

A – Germany wins decisive victory in the East and incorporates Latvia directly into the Reich; it only remains as an administrative area, if that; presumably, local Jews and Russians are either deported/killed or used as slave labor, and German settlers move in

B – same as A, but Latvia is allowed to retain limited autonomy as a vassal state / protectorate

C – the war in the East concludes with a separate negotiated peace in 1941 or 1942, and Latvia remains an independent nation as part of some demilitarized neutral zone between Germany and the USSR

D – same as C, but Latvia remains under German influence and its autonomy remains limited in the practical sense, maybe the Germans even retain military bases in Latvian territory

E – the war concludes with decisive Allied victory, but Stalin recognizes the independence of the Baltic states and withdraws his troops from there; still, Soviet influence remains palpable

F – same as E, but the USSR incorporates Latvia into a new military and economic system of cooperation under Soviet hegemony, and maintains military bases on Latvian soil; also, the Soviets have enough influence, soft power and political mechanisms to ensure that Latvia cannot leave this sphere of influence

G – everything happens as it actually did, but the Baltic states get nominal independence after 1945 instead of getting turned back into Soviet republics. Basically, the Warsaw Pact and COMECON have 3 more members.

I assume hardliner Latvian nationalists would prefer B (even for them, A is too extreme), and more moderate nationalists would prefer C or D. For obvious reasons however, even in the current climate of general anti-Russian/Soviet sentiment, I very much doubt they’d be willing to say this out loud. After all, A, B, C and D all mean that Nazi Germany remains undefeated, and Latvian Jews get genocided and pogromed. For the same reason, I believe these 4 options are unacceptable for the Russian and Jewish minorities in Latvia. After all, even C entails the strong possibility that they get oppressed and ethnically cleansed.

Also, I cannot help but notice that the same very obviously applies to Ukrainian nationalists in general, no matter how much leeway they currently get in Western media.

I’ll make the guess that E is the most ideal option in the eyes of Latvian centrists/normies at first sight; however, it still means that, realistically speaking, Latvia never gets to join either NATO or the EU. It’s the same as Finland’s fate but worse, as the border region between Russia and Finland at least consists of dense forests and numerous lakes, practically impassable ground for Russians if they invade (again). Also, I think it’s clear that the Soviets would agree to something (in their eyes) so unrealistic only if the US agrees to the same in Western Europe. In short, this means that even if NATO is formed, it remains limited in its geographical scope i.e. West Germany never gets incorporated into it, in other words, either the two German states remain neutral or the German state never gets divided and remains neutral.

G is very obviously unacceptable for most Latvians, as the difference from what actually happened is negligible.

F is, I think, also something most of them would only begrudgingly accept. However, the issue with this is that it’s basically merely the local version of NATO, but overseen by Russians. If our position today is that this would be unacceptable and violates our political norms, we’d also have to say that it was not acceptable for the Americans to maintain hegemony over Western European states and station their military units and nuclear weapons on their soil. (I’ll make an expectation for West Germany, as it was a defeated enemy and no peace treaty was signed.) Alternatively, one can make an argument that “but it’s different when the Americans do it, the Russians have always been Mongoloid Ugric-Turkic savages”, but I don’t know how many normies would be willing to say this unironically.

Also, both F and G entail the very real likelihood that the Soviets still get to erect a huge monument in Riga. Even in the case of E it’s relatively likely.

So where does that leave us?

Good morning.

We are always talking about how the news cycle has grabbed the attention of the people and is constantly making us focus on things that do not matter or have little relevance to our actual lived lives, forcing us to be forever locked within the overton window while whoever is in power does whatever they want. So far all of us have missed the next step that comes after that realization, which is, what are those important things that the news is not mentioning that is relevant to our lives? Today, we shall look at a few such examples:

  1. The politization of science - remember when there used to be scientific controversies, some of which would get into the public sphere where there would be intense discussions about the same until the issue was finally resolved. Me neither. However, in the past at least within the academy itself, the scientists used to seemingly have more freedom in regards to the subset of topics they could get behind. It was a period of the science determining the truth rather than the social truth determining the results of science. Today, we find ourselves in upside down world, where the moment the science finds anything controversial in its results, or anything that does not match current social norms, it is shut down or completely forgotten. This isn't a new phenomenon, simply one that continues to grow in strength, until science no longer exists separate from politics. Nobody is any longer allowed to question a medical procedure, or doubt a doctor, or ask any questions about data relating to ethnicity. All of it goes under the rug whenever something wrong happens. Cultural blackpills are no longer permitted even within hard science departments.

  2. Memes and Propaganda acceleration - A meme can be pushed onto the public and spread to millions of people within hours. Today the most expensive department of a company is the advertising section. Millions of bots exist on every single social media site, and if you are starting up as a social media personality, it is recommended that you learn to build bots for your channel to spread further. Today people are being directed towards more ideas and narratives to control their beliefs than ever before. In the past centuries the Church or the state controlled the minds of the people and told them what was right or wrong, today it is whatever echo chamber they end up falling into, resulting in people who do not even share common values with the neighbor right next door. Today you have a strong opinion of things that you have not experienced yourself a single time in life nor have any risk of ever experiencing or any reason to care about. What's worse you are being told that is actually a good thing. You are caring about everybody else's problems before your own, isn't that great!

  3. The death of integrity - Everybody is out to win. Everybody is out to be the right person the moment they are interacting with anyone outside. Why shouldn't they be, this is what the system that caters to their every idea has taught them. This is what their echo chambers have taught them. You are right, they are wrong. If they are able to prove you wrong, they are assholes who did it the wrong way, and anyways you have a right to your opinion. The only time people need to interact with anybody else now is when they have an agenda, so now people only ever interact with anybody else when they have an agenda. There is no you they are talking to, you are just another notebook or audiobook for them to store their opinion and hope to have it repeated somewhere else. Nobody cares about standards anymore, there is no right or wrong, only the desired end goal to be reached and then if anything breaks apart along the way then "look at what you made me do!".

  4. Reality disconnect - Should you worry about not having any savings? Well nobody else around me is worried lmao. Should you care about higher education. Why, it doesn't even pay any real money. Should you try to hold a real job. No, the people are too mean and they hold the wrong opinions.

  5. Illegal actions of the state- All states commit atrocities or immoral acts. We always find out a century later with the present always promising that we are totally clean now guys. Any time there is a controversy in the world, the news cycle drowns it in all the noise, telling you what you should be caring about instead, until you no longer have any clue what was seriously wrong in the first place. Most people don't even know where the newest war broke out or when their own state wrongfully broke a contract or hurt people for questionable reasons. These are things that the state will do everything in its power to memory hole.

  6. Existential threats - Climate change will likely kill far more people than what the news lets on. The energy crisis turned out to be far worse than the news ever let on. The population collapse will almost certainly be far worse than the news lets on as the news keeps assuming an increase in fertility in between for no reason whatsoever. The news does not completely hide these things, because the common man is obviously not completely blind, but they will do all they can to hide the exact details, to hide any real insurmountable risk for the people, and when the blow hits, everyone will act surprised as to where it came from. Remember, in the case of climate change at least, there were reports about it since the start of the 20th century if not earlier. We simply have no capacity to get our heads around existential risks, and the news has no interest in reporting on real existential risk as people giving up or realizing they are completely fucked is not good for business.

You see the problem?

You aren't supposed to be determining the course of your life based on what the neighbor or friend a country away thinks. Your education is still going to give you a better job than no education. Holding a job has never been about being surrounded by people who love you. That's why you work 8 hours so you can do what you want with the other waking 8 and actually enjoy yourself with the money you make once you are away from work! People have become completely disconnected from how the societal system works at even the most basic level.

People now have zero conception of how the social contract works or why it was kept the way it was. Thinking the entirety of the social contract was about controlling people by the richest men and women. That was certainly a part of it but not 100%!! There was a whole bit in there about being able to live functional lives!

Conclusion - In a manner of speaking, outside of the overton window we are certainly in one of the decaying society phases where the people have lost complete connection with why we were living the lives we were in the first place and the understanding that the world runs on the basis of material input which is limited in supply. People have zero concept of the social contract and forgot one of the bigger chapters in the social contract was about how to utilize our resources and get the most out of the average individual in exchange for providing them the maximum resources possible without breaking or stagnating the system.

The overton window simply exists to keep whoever has free time on their hands still focused on issues that do not actually matter 9 times out of 10 so that they are never able to beat the system.

Nor will you ever be able to doubt the system. The system is perfect, and when its not perfect its your neighbors fault for choosing the wrong option. The state is the final answer. Always has been. Always will be.

Leave the overton window and realize the only winning condition is what you do at the individual level for 90% of the human population and then to do things for your community or your city once you reach the remaining 10%.


You know it's really me because who else would care about RSS. Although Reddit was originally built with explicit RSS support the nested nature of the weekly culture war thread required a slight bit of jury-rigging to show only top-level comments. So the RSS URL for the last thread looked like this:

I tried adding the culture war thread from here into Feedly but it doesn't seem to recognize the format, and instead prompts me to use a paywalled feature to build custom RSS feeds. Can the rdrama code base support RSS?

An essay I wrote a while back arguing that dialectical naturalism offers a solid footing for ethics. Since it's pretty core to my moral philosophy, I figured what better to toss to the hounds. Enjoy!


As the title says. I noticed it while poking at Zorba's profile, and clicked the button thinking it would tell me what it does. All I got was "help message sent". So uh, sorry @ZorbaTHut. But seriously, what does that button do?

For various reasons, I follow Brian Leiter's blog--if you're not familiar, Leiter is perhaps most famous as the originator of a law school ranking website (not updated in some time), and a philosophy graduate school ranking website (since handed off to others). He is an outspoken, sometimes abrasive Marxist, but also decidedly anti-woke. He occasionally cites mostly-approvingly to Freddie deBoer, but is much older and better educated, so it is helpful to read Leiter if you want a sense of what very old school, very leftist academic thinking looks like today.

Anyway a recent entry on Leiter's blog piqued my interest, because I am a word nerd, but not an academic linguist. In it, Leiter appears to be airing his annoyance at the way the word "reification" gets used in its literal sense (making the abstract concrete)--he's praising NYT for using the word "correctly," in its Marxist sense, while also offering further correction:

"Some social scientists have a term--'reification.'" Actually, the terms [sic] comes from Lukacs, one of the few useful concepts from his History and Class Consciousness...

Now, it is true that contemporary Marxists using the term as a term of art are indeed channeling Lukacs. However, the term itself most assuredly does not originate with Lukacs. Etymonline traces it to 1846 (the relevant Lukacs' text arrived in 1923). Wiktionary provides some further context, suggesting that the word is "a macaronic calque of German Verdinglichung." The only other source I've found suggests that the term "emerged in the English language in the 1860s" but no supporting evidence is provided for the claim, and the rest of that blog sticks to Marxist exposition.

That is where my Google-fu caps out. I know that the term today gets used in programming contexts (e.g. LISP) so certainly the word has been genericized whether Leiter likes it or not. And of course Marx himself was writing in 1846, so I can't dismiss the possibility that Marxists did coin the term (either in German, or by being the ones to calque it from German), in which case it might even be a mistake to credit Lukacs for the concept. But neither can I dismiss the possibility that the term itself had no Marxist implications for several decades before Lukacs came along, in which case the term has been co-opted by Marxists to the extent that they (like Leiter) assert the "correct" use as a Marxist one.

Either way I suspect Leiter's annoyance re: "incorrect" use is not justified by linguistic history, except to the extent he is complaining about people talking about reification in Marxist contexts without using the term in Lukacs' sense (which doesn't appear to be the case, from this blog entry, but I am doing a lot of reading between the lines). Some of you speak German and some of you read Marx and some of you have access to fancy corpus databases... any chance one of you knows, or can find, the first English or German print instance of "reification?"

Be advised; this thread is not for serious in depth discussion of weighty topics, this thread is not for anything Culture War related. This thread is for Fun. You got jokes? Share 'em. You got silly questions? Ask 'em.


Top level posts should include:

  • a short description of what you're going for

  • a link to the CSS (on or another pastebin that doesn't randomly delete old pastes)

  • and an image link to a screenshot.

Like this:

I'm trying to sort of imitate the visual style of old Reddit: no icons, limited width, not much margin space.

The Wednesday Wellness threads are meant to encourage users to ask for and provide advice and motivation to improve their lives. It isn't intended as a 'containment thread' and any content which could go here could instead be posted in its own thread. You could post:

Requests for advice and / or encouragement. On basically any topic and for any scale of problem.

Updates to let us know how you are doing. This provides valuable feedback on past advice / encouragement and will hopefully make people feel a little more motivated to follow through. If you want to be reminded to post your update, see the post titled 'update reminders', below.

Advice. This can be in response to a request for advice or just something that you think could be generally useful for many people here.

Encouragement. Probably best directed at specific users, but if you feel like just encouraging people in general I don't think anyone is going to object. I don't think I really need to say this, but just to be clear; encouragement should have a generally positive tone and not shame people (if people feel that shame might be an effective tool for motivating people, please discuss this so we can form a group consensus on how to use it rather than just trying it).


We don't have the bot, so let me step in: this thread is not for serious in depth discussion of weighty topics, this thread is not for anything Culture War related. This thread is for Fun. You got jokes? Share 'em. You got silly questions? Ask 'em.

Do you have a dumb question that you're kind of embarrassed to ask in the main thread? Is there something you're just not sure about?

This is your opportunity to ask questions. No question too simple or too silly.

Culture war topics are accepted, and proposals for a better intro post are appreciated.


We've had some custom CSS posts, how about userscripts for The Motte?

I've written a quick-and-dirty infinite-scrolling userscript for post comments:

Anyone have more ideas for how to tweak the site's behaviour?