I’ve had this debate before and was unable to come to a conclusion. It seems to me that any criticism, no matter how valid, could be characterized as harassment.
What do you guys think?
Is there a heuristic for determining which one a statement is?
Does everything just exist on a continuum between the two?
Is this harassment?

Kromonos
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15d

Criticism is friendly, with suggestions of how it could be done/viewed differently.

Harassment is just a bunch of incoherent arguments without suggestions and often without going into the actual content. Mostly a word, maybe also a sentence, is taken out and jigged around on it. To add more confusion, the subject is also changed frequently and quickly to prevent any chance of rational and meaningful conversation, leaving the readers exposed to the monologue of the small-minded troll.

Just my 2 cent.

@stopit@lemmy.ml
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315d

I absolutely approve this comment.

@Brattea@lemmy.ml
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013d

this right here is the correct answer

Salamander
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515d

I think that the harassment is not the criticism in itself, but its delivery. If someone does not want to hear your criticism you might not be entitled to give it to them.

The amount of perceived harassment that is acceptable will depend on whether you are asking about criticism towards an individual because of their physical attributes, or criticizing a politician because of the policies that they have implemented, for example. A politician might feel harassed by the criticism in the media, but the right to express our concerns about the government is important, so we have to have a balance.

On the other hand, I do not think that it is generally acceptable to publicly ‘criticize’ and therefore shame private individuals because of how they look, or their dietary choices.

@stopit@lemmy.ml
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115d

well said.

@Thann@lemmy.ml
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15d

If someone does not want to hear your criticism you might not be entitled to give it to them.

I think you can “harass” someone without directing the critical comment at them. For instance, saying “Trump is an effing r-tard” on twitter could be intending to harass trump supporters, despite being directed at trump, but “behind his back” since he’s not on twitter.

I do not think that it is generally acceptable to publicly ‘criticize’ and therefore shame private individuals because of how they look, or their dietary choices.

Generally I agree, but this reminds me of an episode of southpark (S19E05): https://southpark.cc.com/video-clips/b5jt90/south-park-don-t-i-look-ripped

@BlackLotus@lemmy.ml
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114d

Why was it necessary to reference an ableist slur? There are plenty of complaints about Trump that don’t require ableism.

@Thann@lemmy.ml
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14d

was it necessary to reference an ableist slur?

No, but I had to say some slur for demonstration purposes.

I’m sorry If I offended someone, it was not my intention.

Edit: I guess I could say insert slur here

@bluetoucan@lemmy.ml
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415d

I think it’s pretty simple in a personal setting it becomes harassment when the target of the criticism asks you to stop (or it’s otherwise clear they’re not interested)

@zksmk@lemmy.ml
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214d

This is what I was gonna say. In the simplest terms possible: unsolicited criticism = harassment.

@Thann@lemmy.ml
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114d

IDK why the downvotes. There are definitely things that solicit criticism.

@DPUGT2@lemmy.ml
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114d

Harassment is when I want the criticism to stop, without stopping the behavior being criticized.

@hendrik@lemmy.ml
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015d

You could differentiate between criticizing a person or an idea. Also if it’s directed to demean or humilate someone, it’s probably harassment?

There are articles on Wikipedia defining harassment, critique and logical fallacies.

@Thann@lemmy.ml
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115d

There are articles on Wikipedia defining harassment, critique and logical fallacies.

Interestingly the word criticism doesn’t appear in the wiki article on harassment =/

Harassment, under the laws of the United States, is defined as any repeated or continuing uninvited contact that serves no useful purpose beyond creating alarm, annoyance, or emotional distress.

This implies that only statements devoid of criticism could be considered harassment, but I think almost any statement could be characterized as criticism, so this doesn’t seem like a very useful definition =/

Salamander
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215d

I don’t think this implies that. Criticism is not inherently useful. Unwanted criticism very rarely is!

@Thann@lemmy.ml
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215d

Sometimes the people that need criticism the most, don’t want it ^>^

Salamander
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Yeah, fair enough. But the concept of useful unwanted criticism reminds of an argument that I used to hear as a kid during the ‘anti-bullying’ debate. The argument was that being bullied was not only helpful but even essential during a child’s development because it helped them to ‘toughen up’ to face the real world.

@Thann@lemmy.ml
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114d

Yeah, in their mind, they’re serving the public interest.
I guess this means you need to have scientific support for your claims if you’re going to make the “public interest” claim 🤔

@Thann@lemmy.ml
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115d

You could differentiate between criticizing a person or an idea.

I was thinking about this, but sometimes they can become conflated. For instance: if I say “Hitler was a bad guy”, I’m implicitly criticizing his policies; and conversely, if I say “the holocaust was bad” I’m implicitly criticizing its supporters.

if it’s directed to demean or humilate

I think that we would all agree that intention can make or break this debate, but unfortunately it’s impossible to determine intent, so I would imagine it can’t provide a useful heuristic =/

@hendrik@lemmy.ml
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215d

I’m not sure with determining intent. Say i citizise my spouse for their baking skills in front of a whole audience. Or i do the same thing in private. That says something about what i’m trying to achieve. (I’d probably also go a bit into details to make that somewhat a productive thing.) And most talking behind so.'s back. Or doing such things repeatedly. I believe in real-world scenarios you can tell intent or mallace more often than not.

“Hitler was a bad guy” is probably a factual statement, and a true one. He’s the definition of “a bad guy”. That’d rule out defamation. And who would be harassed? Hitler? He’s dead.

Regarding your other example, i don’t think you can say something and that somehow implicitly says something about the supporters or opponents. That’s not included in that statement. You could say’ …, so all supporters must be evil people.’ But that would leave me with the question ‘And why should that be the case?’ instead of ‘Who might be harassed here?’.

Salamander
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215d

I don’t think that being a factual statement disqualifies the statement as being criticism. Good criticism often contains factual statements!

Calling someone bad to their face can be a form of harassment. But if the person truly is a bad person, the rest of us might be ok with the harassment.

@Thann@lemmy.ml
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115d

This seems to imply that harassment and criticism are two different perspective of the same thing. i.e. different sides of the same coin. And really the question is: “weather the forum was appropriate”, which is obviously subjective.

@Thann@lemmy.ml
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115d

I really appreciate how through this response is =]

Or I do the same thing in private. That says something about what i’m trying to achieve.

I agree that the forum in which the critical statement is made is important context to the question of whether or not it’s harassment. I guess this means my examples are incomplete and can’t be answered =/

… is probably a factual statement, and a true one

I would argue that factuality is irrelevant to harassment. For instance, “slurs” are typically factual, but are clearly intending to harass.

He’s dead.

It makes a lot of sense that you cant harass dead people, but its conceivable you could collaterally harass someone by harassing a dead person. For instance, maybe “Hitler was a bad guy” could be harassment when said to a skinheads face while shaking your fist 🤔

i don’t think you can say something and that somehow implicitly says something about the supporters or opponents.

If I say “trump is an effing r-tard” at a trump rally, I think somepeople would call that harassment >

@hendrik@lemmy.ml
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215d

so everything boils down to context, purpose and intent. saying that to skinheads is meant to offend. calling trump names infront of his supporters is meant to offend.

i’d say critique and harassment are two totally different things. a statement can be one of that, both or neither.

i’m happy with the wikipedia definition of harassment. It’s harassment if the only purpose is to annoy. Regardless of the statement made. You could say something and it’s okay or call someone every night at 3am and tell the same sentence, then hang up… and it’s harassment. It’s not really directly related to the sentence.

The fine line between something that’s annoying but valid critizism and something that’s not is probaby whether it fits another objective purpose apart from annoying someone.

@stopit@lemmy.ml
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115d

how about…“Hitler was a bad guy because…[insert the many reasons one can to back this up]”

@stopit@lemmy.ml
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Idk…I don’t think it’s any criticism is harassment. I think there are constructive criticism, which I appreciate and non-constructive criticism, which is insulting.

For example if I ask someone to read something I wrote and get…“that sucks” that’s does nothing to help me regardless if is true or not. Constructively, one could say, “I didn’t get much out that, perhaps you could expand more on x and maybe y isn’t relevant to this piece and can be removed all together.”

The latter comment I would appreciate the former I would take as insulting.

@Thann@lemmy.ml
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115d

I see, most statements could be refactored to be more or less insulting, so this would seem to imply everything is on a continuum of “insultingness” between harassment and criticism.

Honestly I think this is as close to a solution as were gonna get =]

@stopit@lemmy.ml
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215d

As someone who enjoys writing but also knows I am very far from perfect, I expect criticism - as long as it is expanded enough to help me. Without constructive criticism, I can’t improve.

I’m wondering if I’m completely misunderstanding you…I promise I won’t feel insulted or harassed if you tell me, with explanation.

@Thann@lemmy.ml
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Yeah, exactly! As an engineer, all I do all day is dispense and receive criticism, and I like it!

But unfortunately it’s easy to offend people, even when its not your intention =/

It would be nice to have a heuristic, so when I get banned for harassment I can feel justified >

@stopit@lemmy.ml
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215d

But you like constructive criticism…right? Criticism without input is useless…is how I think anyhow.

@Thann@lemmy.ml
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15d

yup, not all criticism is equal.

however, a contestant judge might disqualify you without saying why, and doesn’t owe you an explanation. I wouldn’t say that’s useless criticism, but I wouldn’t say it’s harassment, despite the lack of explanation.

@stopit@lemmy.ml
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215d

But, this would imply you willingly entered a contest and understand that the judges will judge. Yes I agree it isn’t harassment or criticism, it’s a game you volunteered to participate in.

I think I am thinking of my own expectations of criticism (perhaps self-centered?) and through this back and forth am realizing there are many different types of criticism that I have never thought of before now and I am not sure that I have the intelligence to opine too much. But…you did get me thinking…

@Thann@lemmy.ml
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115d

you willingly entered a contest

Yeah, I agree.
Is saying something stupid on twitter a similar volunteering for criticism though?

@stopit@lemmy.ml
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115d

Don’t get upset with me…I don’t use twitter (or fb, instagram etc) anymore…but…I think like here…if you’re posting something for the public to read, you should understand some people are going to find your opinions stupid. Should people say “I think you’re post is stupid”, I don’t think they should. Honestly, I think saying that is stupid…there are nicer ways to express one’s opinions…but back to my point: If you’re willing to post on a public forum, you should understand you may get negative feedback…even intentionally rude feedback. You have to move on.

BTW…a few comments back I think you mentioned something…do you write software? If so, can I ask you a question privately? I have no intentions of trying to get a job…It’s just that I am trying to self learn programming as a mentally challenging hobby (akin to one working on crosswords or something)…and have general questions…not reading my code or anything like that, more general learning advice. i can explain more if you’re open to it.

@Thann@lemmy.ml
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1
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Don’t worry about offending me, I’ll let you know if you cross a line ^.^

I think that you have a very reasonable perspective to online discourse.

Feel free to DM me questions. I also just created a sub for this type of stuff =]
https://lemmy.ml/c/learn_programming

@Thann@lemmy.ml
creator
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015d

News-articles that don’t cite primary-sources are BS

Criticism or harassment?

@TheAnonymouseJoker@lemmy.ml
banned
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014d

Criticism.

@Thann@lemmy.ml
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-115d

Hitler was a bad guy

Criticism or harassment?

@stopit@lemmy.ml
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415d

Without sounding too simple…I would say this is simply fact.

@Thann@lemmy.ml
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215d

I think that statements of fact can be harassment in the right forum.

@stopit@lemmy.ml
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215d

maybe the philosophy is going over my head here! I can admit the limitations on my intelligence, it is one of my good qualities.
I guess anything can be harassment if the person feels so…If someone tells you they’re not open to criticism, then move on and keep opinions to yourself…Although, we’re using Hitler as an example, there is also a moral obligation when one is literally hurting people to criticize. I may not be expressing myself properly…but I am trying!

@Thann@lemmy.ml
creator
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115d

I guess anything can be harassment if the person feels so

This would mean harassment is purely subjective. I think its a perfectly legitimate answer, and means my question is moot.

here is also a moral obligation when one is literally hurting people to criticize.

Yeah, I agree, the question of harassment is overshadowed by public interest.

@stopit@lemmy.ml
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215d

yes and no…for example, I previously worked at a corporate job…mostly thought it sucked, but their definition of harassment is when you continue expressing something to someone who tells you they don’t want it. I agree with this. If someone is truly bad - there are ways to report it.

I guess when I think of criticism, I think of something I am doing that I want to get better at and need criticism…with suggestions that I can use.

@Thann@lemmy.ml
creator
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115d

I agree with you that, bringing something up after someone told you they don’t want to talk about it, is generally harassment. But again there is the question of public interest.

If someone is bringing the company/country down, it could be for the “greater good” to reiterate criticism.

@stopit@lemmy.ml
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215d

But…if someone doesn’t want your criticism and is bringing the company down - there is usually an avenue to report it - it’s not always adequate but at the same time, criticizing someone that is not open to it, isn’t adequate either. Real conundrum! (is that a word?)

@Thann@lemmy.ml
creator
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215d

Quite the conundrum indeed

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