back to article Website which 'could have prevented Rwandan genocide' goes live

A genocide prevention charity and a campaign software development house have joined forces to create an all-encompassing database of online hate speech. The insults are collected together on a site called HateBase, which aims to provide NGOs and governments with the ability to "use hate speech as a predictor for regional …

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Cue a random word generator.

Lets take up all the slack of those pesky collections of letters that aren't words yet - then we can published them and see which ones stick.

Sounds like a load of xpese to me.

ttfn

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Joke

Re: Cue a random word generator.

Like swut, joojooflop, and turlingdrome?

So long as they don't start saying Belgium (whoops)

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Happy

Re: Cue a random word generator.

It sounds like a great way to learn new slander terms. Take 'sperg' for example; Never heard that before and I know a disturbing number of hateful things that one can say, not that I say them to others :)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Cue a random word generator.

"Like swut, joojooflop, and turlingdrome?"

I thought those were social media startups...

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Black Helicopters

Re: Cue a random word generator.

I'd help contribute to their database, but my hovercraft is currently full of eels.

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Stop

bull tits,

about as useful as.

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Hate speech not the best indicator

There's a very good chapter on Rwanda in Jared Diamon's "Collapse". I don't have it to hand, but the gist of it is this. Something like 10-15% of the population was killed in the massacres. There was one town up in the north of the country with just one Tutsi resident, an elderly woman. The death rate in this town was ... 15%. So something other than ethnicity was driving the killing once it started.

Rwanda at the time was horrifically over-populated, with far too much of the population competing over ever-subdivided tracts of farmland. What happened in Rwanda was as much caused by vast numbers of people who couldn't even afford to be tenant farmers, as it was by racial hatred.

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Re: Hate speech not the best indicator

Very true, I do not doubt. You often see people of different ethnicity living side by side harmoniously during good times. It is when the economy goes down the toilet that people like to point the finger of blame to anyone who looks different (god forbid I am to blame, after all). Sad but very human, I am afraid. Much the same happened in former Yugoslavia.

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Paris Hilton

Re: Hate speech not the best indicator

Yes, population pressure, youth unemployment, economic collapse, then a tipping point when a scapegoat is found - the usual; purges don't have to be ethnically based, they can be religious or political and words shift to take on new meanings.

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Gav
Boffin

Re: Hate speech not the best indicator

"What happened in Rwanda was as much caused by vast numbers of people who couldn't even afford to be tenant farmers, as it was by racial hatred."

Sometimes cause and effect works the other way around from what you might expect. Racial hatred is a symptom, not a cause.

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Sounds nice lets have some tyranny

Language engineering, censorship, tyranny, will come in ways you don't expect. Through a back door, or dressed as something nice. Like a press law. Or an anti-genocide database. Crime will turn into "hate crime" which will then become "political crime". At first you will get by just watching what you write. Then what you say. Then what you think.

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WTF?

WTF?

So the website promoters want us to believe that a locational database of insults will prevent the next Rwanada? They must be true liberal do gooders with stars in their eyes and to much funding. The world knew it was coming (already loads of peace keepers in country reporting on the situation) , then sat by and watched it happen (lookup Roméo Dallaire's version of events). How could knowing what the Hutus's were yelling as they butchered people have helped.

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Big Brother

All well and good but...

Why can't I order up at least small arms of appreciable power (i.e. at least up to .5 in caliber, and including rocket launchers) from that site? Do I really have to dial UN-911, then wait until someone picks up?

“The rifle itself has no moral stature, since it has no will of its own. Naturally, it may be used by evil men for evil purposes, but there are more good men than evil, and while the latter cannot be persuaded to the path of righteousness by propaganda, they can certainly be corrected by good men with rifles.”

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Big Brother

Re: All well and good but...

Thumbs down?

Someone must be looking forward to being the passive protagonist in a cattle transport.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: All well and good but... @Destroy All Monsters

"Thumbs down?

Someone must be looking forward to being the passive protagonist in a cattle transport."

Perhaps the original thumbs down was for sounding like someone from "Doomsday Preppers" and then tacking on a quote which you think makes you sound profound. Certainly the cause for mine. My second, on the post I'm replying to, is for whining when you get a downvote.

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Thumb Down

Re: All well and good but... @Destroy All Monsters

I don't give a wet sock about the opinions of ACs.

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Police Yoof commissioner?

Could it save anyone getting egg on her face?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-kent-22057246

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Police Yoof commissioner?

Can you believe that load of bollocks? Villifying a young woman for things she said when she was thirteen FFS? What next, are we all supposed to call her sexist for saying that "boys smell" when she was nine?

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FAIL

Re: Police Yoof commissioner?

IDK - if you're picking somone who is supposed to be representing both youth and the police, someone who talks about "beating fucking faggots" is a pretty poor choice. Her age counts against her rather than for her. If you're talking like that at age thirteen, it's hardly likely you're going to have an epiphany and overcome your violent homophobia by age 16. She sounds like a nasty, dimwitted piece of work.

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Stop

Nonsense

What with the death of Margaret Thatcher today who now will save us from this sort of wishy washy liberal politically correct nonsense.

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Big Brother

Re: Nonsense

Sounds like a job for... Zombie Thatcher.

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Re: Nonsense

I would watch it.

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Of course it couldnt stop it....

Even if we accept the proposition that looking for hate speech is an indicator of a genocide, no website could have stopped it.

These things can only be solved by boots on the ground, and investment in Africa... Two things in which demand greatly exceeds supply.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Of course it couldnt stop it....

You think there's been a lack of investment in Africa?

How many more trillions of Dollars do you think they require?

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Re: Of course it couldnt stop it....

Do you mean extraction operations that line the pockets of local elites? Or "aid" of which 90% goes back to domestic contractors, kills competing local businesses and creates dependence on foreign aid?

Or do you mean investment in businesses that actually help foster the local economies? Yeah, I'm really interested in hearing about *those* trillions.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Of course it couldnt stop it....

Are you sure that's what all them other NGOs have been doing with the vast sums of money they have poured into Africa?

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Big Brother

Re: Of course it couldnt stop it....

These things can only be solved by boots on the ground, and investment in Africa

"boots on the ground": Amurrica Style (how is the Kony bullshit coming, btw?)

"investment in Africa": China Style

You know who will win.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Of course it couldnt stop it....

Lend to small businesses in Africa (and the world).

www.kiva.org

This will make a difference, unlike most charity (which will go to paying for a gap yah for a metropolitan twit) or government aid (which will go to buying a new palace for the president).

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Back in the days . . .

. . . when they introduced a scanner on the mail server at work to apparently check for inflammatory words (or something to do with 'Securitai' anyway), there was a dramatic increase in possible words or phrases that might get flagged up.

The fun you could have these days on a global basis.

(well, if I can think of it . . . )

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Re: Back in the days . . .

The BOFH had a field day having his boss shout all the forbidden words "to build up a database" of forbidden words for their newfangled speech recognition software, as I recall.

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Noble but Useless

Like I said this is noble in that genocide should be stopped but even if this does predict genocides are the people who use this site likely to have to power to do anything? The short answer is no.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Noble but Useless

They can write a strongly-worded letter to world leaders, or DDoS websites run by the governments of the countries were the genocide is occuring, as is the new fad.

While they can do something, the question is can they do something useful.

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Surely it would make more sense to get a real-time feed of machete-sales ?

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Hatebase.

So a sort of online Roger's Profanisaurus for insults then?

What do we have to do to ensure that "twatdangler" gets in there?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hatebase.

Not to mention "dongle" that one is really bad, you can lose your job for using that.

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Coat

Early psychohistory..?

Mine's the one with "Prelude to Foundation" in the pocket.

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Anonymous Coward

So if 'sperg'

is the new insult like 'tard' (as stated in the article) the does that make Apple fanbois "iSpergs"?

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Anonymous Coward

Hmmm...what do we think this site will be used for?

Hint: What does every kid do the first time they get a dictionary.

I can foresee people using this to find the 'latest' hate term to use ("hate term of the day" anyone).

And surely this is the same as urban dictionary anyway.

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Might be useful. Or might not.

The presence of a word in Hatebase is pretty meaningless on its own (eg 'Taffy' is there, but I don't feel particularly threatened by its use). What counts is how words (any words) are used. When a derogatory term is applied to a well-defined group and that use is encouraged or approved by those in power (or those who aspire to it), then it's time to get worried . That's the first step - labelling them. To be followed by demonising them and defining them as non- or sub-human. Then the genocide can begin.

The world has so obviously missed these indicators or not responded to them the past. It hasn't been for lack of a database of 'Hate Speech' - just the will to notice and do something about it.

This database may help, but unless it is accompanied by intelligent analysis of the trends for usage of the terms, all that it'll do is add another level to the push to sanitise discourse - 'Pre-Genocidal Speech' being a much more serious accusation than 'Hate Speech'.

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Joke

"all-encompassing database of online hate speech"

Has nobody told them that YouTube beat them to it?

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Facepalm

In related news

New study shows imminente outbreak of genocide on Team Fortress 2 servers. Residents hoarding hats in fear!

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Anonymous Coward

cool

a new resource for insults just what the internet needs.

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Holmes

Just counted the word 'liberal' twice in these comments.

(Three times, now).

Is this an indicator of imminent hate crime?

And where will it be taking place?

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Boffin

Epidemiology of violence

I think the idea behind this is to build some analytics around the use of hate terms. This database would be used as a reference base for the analytics.

US CDC have used terms around illness to track cases of flu via Google queries and Twitter messages. Using this tool to locate virulent hate outbreaks could be useful. At the moment, in the US, there are trends around American Nazis, KKK, gun nut paranoids, and any number of historically minor hate groups. Excessive activity could be indicative of possible threats.

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Vic
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Re: Epidemiology of violence

> Excessive activity could be indicative of possible threats

...But it's far more likely to be indicative of excessive numbers of twats.

Vic.

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Anonymous Coward

this would hav prevented nothing

all it could have done is predicted it. At some point violence would have to occurred, and in this example, *before* the action took place.

Is the UN gonna invade for "pre-crimes"? When they wouldn't seriously militarily interfere after the genocides began?

Or do we allow people to arm *themselves* and hope they choose to defend against oppression, rather than become oppressors themselves?

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Meh

Dubious Definitions

The 4th word in the Hatebase list of recent updates is the common English expletive which is usually sanitised as "see you next Tuesday". The corresponding definition contains the following:

"...For instance, in Commonwealth Countries such as Britain ... it can be, and often is, used to refer positively to someone."

Not in any part of England that I know!

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