article A condensed history of the formation of Beehaw
The group of users who created Beehaw used to exist on another platform. Many of us came to that platform from many other platforms before it. We were sold on the idea that it was a different platform, where discussion would be encouraged, and things would be different. While the platform was still small, there was a much higher feeling of cohesion and community and users being aggressive or hateful to each other was incredibly rare. When they were mean, it was often over emotionally charged issues and typically resolved itself with apologies or slight changes in who interacted with who. Over time this platform, like many others before it, got infested with a group of people we will refer to as ‘rationalists’.
We are simplifying their mindset to that of the rationalist, because rationalism touts itself as a belief that opinions and actions should be based on reason and knowledge, rather than belief or emotional response, and they often touted such ideals. While we agree that beliefs and emotional responses can get in the way of important work, the kind of rationalist that we take qualms with is someone who doesn’t understand that their own beliefs or emotions are clouding their judgement. At times they repeat racist, sexist, or otherwise bigoted narratives because they are not as learned as they think. They often end up causing a lot of harm to minority individuals who already struggle to get society to listen to them because bigoted notions dominate the common narratives found in society.
On this platform I attempted to address this emerging problem of rationalism. To be clear I do not view these people as bad people. I simply think they are misled or unintentionally ignorant. When I was younger, I found myself in possession of many of the thoughts they discuss because I was also taught them through the lens of a colonial oppressive system. It took a lot of work to undo some of the brainwashing that I had gone through and to realize the harm that I was causing by ‘debating’ these issues online.
Unfortunately for me my attempts to address this problem on said platform were met with ire by the creator of said website, and I was told in no uncertain terms that I should cease these meta-discussions altogether. That message and that final thread that I had created on the matter lead to a discussion on an informal community for the website where likeminded individuals began to lay the groundwork for what we felt was wrong with this system of moderation and the problems we saw in modern social media platforms.
This was the birth of Beehaw.
Last updated 10 Sep 2023, 13:37 -0400 .