But those projects are extremely niche and haven’t been tested with a significant no. of users for long enough yet, right?

Re China: it doesn’t have to be either/or. Can’t we imagine using IDs in social networks without the West devolving into “a centralized authoritarian dystopia”? We didn’t have a centralized authoritarian dystopia before social networks with plenty of ID everywhere, and we don’t have one now — it’s not clear that introducing IDs online now would inevitably lead to a centralized authoritarian dystopia. I say at least let’s be open to the idea.

Two thinkers I follow and respect, @jonhaidt and @profgalloway, are now advocating the need of some kind of ID for users of online social media. It’s an idea I always found intuitively repellent, and I fear the negative consequences that would have — but their arguments in favour are making me doubt.


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From the UnHerd article:

“Is there any correlation between all this nasty posting and real-world behaviour? There’s no data to support this bold assertion. In fact, a recent study into the incel community suggests otherwise. And so does the report itself: the main section includes a subheader titled ‘Links to Offline Violence’ that includes just one case of a man arrested for possession of an assault rifle and an ‘attempt to commit a hate crime.’”

I can’t seem to find the report to check that myself. But if it’s so, that’s extremely flimsy evidence of online discussions leading to IRL violence.

You say:

“There are links between the violence and the threats. There has been several claimed attacks from [COMMUNITY]. Starting with the [YEAR] [INCIDENT], but sadly not ending there.”

If we were to insert some other community there instead of “incels”, and some other outrageous attack attributed to a member of that community, and your statement still held true, would you be willing to declare all members of that other community “terrorists”, too? If not, what’s the difference, what are the other criteria? (Honest question.)


“The problem is them public and shamelessly threatening with violence.”

To put it another way: my issue is with that “them” above. Who is “them”? All self-declared involuntary celibates? Just those in the US? Only users of that forum? Female ones, too? What about the ones who are explicitly against violence?

How many are there in each of those categories above?

We shouldn’t paint with too broad a brush and label thousands or millions of people as “terrorists” like that. It’s a very serious accusation.


Yes, I read the article. I offer you this one in return.

I’m all about detecting mental health issues to treat them early, and preventing violence IRL. I just object to “declaring terrorists”.

My logic against that is: that study is about one specific online community only, there appear to be zero concrete links between discussions on that site and actual violence, the study seems week in some regards (eg, doesn’t seem to distinguish between hyperbole, humour and irony, and actual beliefs or intentions), and — most importantly — we have no idea what percentage of “incels” are represented on that site.

That is why I was comparing to other demographics. We don’t declare all self-declared “islamists” “terrorists” just because there are large online communities of islamists discussing, or even advocating, violence.


In any case, I think all dimensions matter: no. of jobs available, average salaries, career prospects, work hazards, prestige, and social influence. The push for female STEM was mostly predicated on the basis that those were the jobs of the future. When someone points out that “STEM accounts for only about 7% of all jobs, compared to 23% in HEAL” (ie, that HEAL is very much the jobs of the present and of the foreseeable future), the conversation suddenly shifts to salaries.

We should agree on what characteristics make a profession good or desirable first, and only then discuss the distribution by sex (or age, race, whatever).

Otherwise, nobody ever pays attention to the fact that many male-dominated professions probably aren’t so desirable after all because they’re dangerous (drivers, construction workers, electricians), are hated or held in low esteem by many in society (policemen, politicians), are extremely rare (ministers, CEOs, PMs), or pay very poorly (janitors, bouncers).


I think the “E” in stands for low- and mid-level specifically — the sex ratio for college professors like yourself isn’t as skewed as it is for kindergarten educators, etc (right?). Anyway, if we project current trends half a generation into the future, higher education will be clearly female-dominated, too — if it isn’t already.

I suspect that particular statement (highest-paying HEAL still being below lowest-paying STEM) is false. We’re talking attorneys, surgeons and psychiatrist vs. sound engineers, lab technicians and zoologists. Clearly the former make more money than the latter.

And like these:

  • “Men account for just 24% of K-12 teachers, down from 33% in the early 1980s.”
  • “Only one in ten elementary teachers are male.”
  • “In early , men are virtually invisible. It ought to be a source of national shame that only 3% of pre-K and kindergarten are men.”
  • “There are twice as many women flying U.S. military planes as there are teaching kindergarten (as a share of the occupation).”

Richard Reeves


“We need a massive […] effort to get men to move into jobs in the growing fields of health, education, administration, and literacy (HEAL), equivalent to the successful campaign to get women into STEM.”

“There are three pressing reasons to get more into .”

“First, given the decline in traditional male occupations, men need to look to these sectors for jobs. Blue collar jobs are disappearing. There will be more STEM jobs, too — but these are much smaller occupations. accounts for only about 7% of all jobs, compared to 23% in HEAL.”

“The second reason […] is to help meet labor shortages in critical occupations. Almost half of all registered nurses are now over the age of 50. […] We face labor shortages in two of the largest and most important sectors of our economy — health care and . But we are trying to solve them with only half the workforce.”

“The third argument […] is to provide a better service to and men. Many would prefer to be cared for by a man, especially in certain circumstances. Consider the case of a man in need of help using the bathroom in a hospital or care home, or the middle-aged man needing a therapist to help with his addiction to pornography, or the fatherless teenage boy needing help from a psychologist with their substance abuse. It is not ideal if most substance abuse counselors are women (76%) when most substance abusers are men (67%), or that most special education teachers are women (84%) when most students being referred to special education are male (64%).”

“Getting more men into HEAL occupations would be good for men, good for the professions, and good for clients — a win-win-win.”

Richard Reeves


Do you think we should declare “terrorists” all people who practice a certain religion, of a certain sex, within a certain age bracket, of a certain nationality, or who espouse a certain political ideology — just because they are overrepresented in stats about homicide and rape, compared to other religion, the other sex, younger/older people, other nationalities, or other political views?

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