Toxic User Mentality?

For the most part, on here, I haven’t encountered these users, but someone else was talking to me about it. It’s probably that I wasn’t a part of the threads they were participating in. I have found the users here to be very helpful and informative, and I’ve even made some new friends!

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IMO, I guess that, boiled down, it means that if one has a opinion and it isn’t praise, or it’s not like someone else’s or a troll is haunting the place, then it’s “toxic”.

Just sign me, cynically facetious :slight_smile:

A cynic is a noob with years of experience.

p.s. Sorry for delay, but I just saw a notice of your reply.

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Couldn’t your response seem “toxic” to anyone that posts even one meme? I mean, so what if someone wants to post memes? It’s not hard to scroll past them - they are easy enough to ignore if one wants to. Let’s face it, “toxic” is too often just a cry-bully word.

Should the rules here be 'Posting memes are not allowed"?

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Just for fun…


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Oh, don’t I know it?! This has already happened to me too many times…

Oh, of course. Actually, what prompted this was a conversation I was having with someone, and he was referring to “toxic power users,” who are so convinced of their expertise that they won’t listen to any advice, and will stick to their guns even if they’ve been proven wrong.

For example, let’s say someone points out “Matrix has been compromised and shouldn’t be used right now - you should switch to Signal,” but the power user just says “Matrix is the best and most anonymous protocol, and I will use nothing else.” In other words, even in the face of irrefutable evidence to the contrary, the “power user” insists that they’re right.

Memes, on the other hand, I have no problem with! :joy:

Ahhh. I know the kind of person you mean - I call them “wannabe politicians” and their supporters I call “Apathacans”.

[ˌapəˈTHe kəˈn]

Short for Apathetic Can adian also applied to Ameri can relating to or characteristic of Canada or the U.S. and its apathetic inhabitants:

  • “the Apathacan ignores government’s anti-privacy laws”.


a apathetic native or apathetic inhabitant of Canada or United States of America.:

  • “a 27-year-old Apathcan from Des Moines, IA 50301 said “What - me worry?”
  • " I am not worried about what others see for I’ve nothing to hide."
  • “I am not a criminal so I don’t mind sharing all my information.”
  • “Google has info about me that I don’t care about.”

You read it hear first.

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That’s very interesting because I find any privacy/FOSS community’s great.

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Most of the time, I do, but I guess it all depends. They can be like neighborhoods that way. For example, in some neighborhoods, if you don’t fit in with the dominant group (whether because of wealth disparity or ethnicity), you’ll be shunned. Other times, those sorts of things don’t matter, and people will eventually accept you as part of the community.

In this forum, at least, I haven’t found that to be a problem, but maybe certain other users did. I was telling the user in question that I really enjoyed it here, and hoped that I wouldn’t run into such petty disputes.

“Apathacan” - what a great word! I think I’ll start using that from now on. I’ve definitely heard the “I am not worried about what others see for I’ve nothing to hide” argument many times, and I think it’s complete bullshit.

I assume that people who say that haven’t been through the nightmare of not only having their information exposed, but having it misused in a malicious way - so I’m here to tell you that I have experienced that, and it’s not fun. Luckily, I started to become a part of the privacy community shortly before then, so I knew people like you folks who could help out.

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@ virticalizes
I think we’ll find all kinds of people - good, bad or otherwise. It’s in our nature not to be identical.

I like the block feature on but prefer since it’s easier focus on specific Privacy Tool topics.

Glad you like “apathacan”. I first used it a long time ago and looked it up in many places but couldn’t find it, so generated the dictionar-ized version of explaining it.

I also very much like the GUI when typing posts/replies. I wonder how it works on a stalker-phone (AKA smart phone). I have not been assimilated into using one, never will. Does the screen look similar on a clever phone? (no such thing as a ‘smart phone’ - clever maybe.)

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Part of the problem: anti-this, anti-that mentality, when the anti is so inflexible that the person can not be reasonable.

Like, when an organisation is misportrayed as entirely bad.


Here everything is quieter, in terms of people being less rude, not creating discriminatory comments or and trying to be more supportive. Reddit on the other hand… since the userbase it’s larger, people tend to feel more comfortable with that sense of “anonymity”, here even if we don’t know each other, if you start being an horrible person, we will remember the username.

If anyone ask me about privacy, I always nice to them, even if they know much less.
Also, even than they may inform me about some gap, which I did not consider.

However, if for instance, somebody, after all scandals with Facebook
(which are now known to all who read newspapers, not only geeks) post my picture from the party
5 minutes after taking it using Facebook app. without even asking, than I get angry couse of his/her ignorance.

I disagree that privacy of other users is not my business.
Let’s leave FB for a while. If e.g. all people are using credit cards not carring about privacy, than the cities have no
problems with implementing credit card solutions in the buses and get rid of cash solution, which is bad for MY privacy.

TBH I think that what InfoSec tried to say was that the statement “privacy” on itself isn’t a threat model, but then you do answer with a more in depth analysis of a TM. But again, looking to be more private isn’t. Private against who? In what way? To what degree?
This marks the difference between me and Snowden, both of us are looking for a more private life, but his attackers have loadsa more resources and capabilities than mines.

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I read that conversation and I’ll have to handle it to InfoSec here. It was only after that particular reply that @anon76034565 came up with a proper definition of threat model (which was everything and everyone).

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I mean it’s not just the privacy community either, arguably the machine learning community is even worse.

Which is mind boggling, when you want to make privacy-focus and machine learning work seamlessly together.

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I didn’t name the organisation at the time, but it was Mozilla.

After S3.Translator-Clone was hard-blocked by Mozilla for collecting ancillary user data (a privacy concern), I helped to find workarounds and alternatives to the extension.

Helping those people was a very time-consuming and almost entirely thankless exercise. Some users seemed to be intent on nothing more than moaning about Mozilla:

  • not interested in workarounds or solutions
  • not able to look ahead, positively

– those people were present solely to bring negativity. Quite toxic.

As a side note, for anyone who might doubt my interest in privacy, I arranged a subsequent block of S3.Translator (not the clone) – this, too, was for collecting ancillary user data.

Not an easy decision. The ~300,000 users (a 2018 figure) probably included people who were extremely dependent upon some unique features of the extension, but my conscience drove me to:

  1. notify the developer,
  2. request a soft block (privacy concerns), and
  3. help the developer towards addressing the concerns, e.g.

The softness was intended to minimise disruption to existing users. As things turned out, Mozilla chose a hard block (and I have no argument with the decision).

tl;dr the resulting improved version for Firefox is currently at

Other signs an author doesn’t know what they’re talking about:

  • doubling down on their point of view when provided facts proving the contrary
  • misrepresenting facts to support a conspiracy theory

And it’s also bad, because it drives away users interested in privacy. If discussing privacy becomes a pissing contest, then only people comfortable with such a mentality will take part. Meaning a small group of users.

I usually educate people, as best as I can. When I get sick of that if they keep it up I end up banning them as a last resort. I won’t tolerate concern trolls. The reason for this is because bad information is worse than no information. It does scare away users from learning anything meaningful from a dialogue. Concern trolls also tend to just keep replying even if they end up repeating their same talking points that have already been shown to be incorrect.

Useless noise detracts from meaningful discussion and conversation.

Contrary to the received wisdom, this is not a repellent only for low-knowledge users. Computers are mainly used in a professional, business context, and such users make compromises all the time. They understand that being reality-based, as opposed to ideology-driven, is critical to them.

Different users have different needs. Privacy should not be about virtue-signalling. It should be about helping people achieving their aims, without risking what would be detrimental to them (not to someone else).

Exactly, which is why we try to get people to think about their threat model, ie who your adversaries are, and what are your needs etc.

People who reply with “I want ultimate privacy”, have failed this question already, and we re-ask them to get them to think a bit harder about what it is they’re trying to keep private and from whom.

One of the things I’ve taken to doing is quoting people, particularly when having a conversation in public. Public conversations are public, but that doesn’t stop people editing their replies or deleting them in order to “save face”.

I don’t use Keybase much, but I do see it on there too. It’s quite common people will set a ridiculously low retention time on messages (24 hours - 7 days etc). Unfortunately Keybase lets users actually have some choice over this in public channels. The channel deletes messages automatically after 30 days.

What then realistically happens if I don’t quote messages, is you get half a conversation because 50% of it has been deleted. People participate in discussions from all timezone so that’s just destroying the flow of conversation.

These people provide the same meaningless ideological reasons for doing this, (none of which is fact based).

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@dngray that’s very thoughtful. Thanks.

For those of you who use (PTIO chat):

I like to focus on content – what’s written, not who’s writing. The style that I apply to Riot helps to allow this focus by minimising the amount of on-screen metadata about writers.

A degree of facelessness can be OK :-) like, I don’t need to see the writer’s face, or a massive coloured circle, alongside every comment that he or she writes. It’s not too bad here in Discourse, where there’s more content than metadata but in Riot – where commentary is terse – the massive multicoloured circles are way too distracting.

As a side note, yesterday when I sped back through the past couple of months in PrivacyToolsGeneral, there were a few eyebrow-raising swathes of conversation that were horribly out of tune with the Code of Conduct. Whilst speeding (through search results), I didn’t stop to tell whether anyone had flagged/reported or moderated the offenders, but those areas didn’t paint a pretty picture of PTIO. Maybe not toxic, but the conduct was debatably quite ugly.