The Web is the Problem

So I’m giving an online talk to the whole Web Foundation team on Thursday and this is the opening slide…

mastodon.ar.al/media/vRROdbsaD

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@aral that sounds like it'll be cool but how about maybe a less ableist word than "idiot"?

Aral Balkan @aral

@ghost I’m not sure if there’s a synonym for “useful idiot” (see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Useful_i) – if there’s a phrase that means that same thing, I’m open to using it.

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@bob @aral oooo i like unwitting accomplice! alternately, there's "pawn" but that might be even more hostile than "idiot." :)

incidentally i'd never heard the specific phrase "useful idiot" before, and now that i know the meaning, i'm even more opposed to the use of "idiot" in that context.

@ghost @aral unwitting accomplice is perhaps less likely to insult anyone - especially if you are trying to convince them.

@ghost @aral you should be determined _not_ to use the term "idiot" regardless 😒

@aral @ghost the wiki article you linked earlier mentions two synonymous terms with historical precedent: "useful fool" and "useful innocent" (the latter seems more descriptive and less pejorative).

anyway this looks like a cool talk, hope you can post the slides later

@Shotagonist @aral thinking on it more, I'm even more into pawn than before. It's not offensive to any specific groups and is more of a call to action for the audience. Like "hey I'm not a pawn! How can I not be a pawn?"

@ghost @aral it also perfectly captures what a "useful idiot" is at the bottom of the line.

@ghost @Shotagonist I ended up using useful fools. Pawn is even better. Thanks for the feedback :)

@aral thank you for ditching the ableist phrase. That's awesome. And "useful fool" is a great choice, too. @Shotagonist