I started to realize a paradox that fits with a lot of rather unrelated scenarios. I’m wondering if this paradox can help us better understand what we should consider as socially and morally acceptable (or more probably used in the synthesis of a better idea). Also, this idea has some issues, and I will make you aware of them.
The crazy man paradox occurs when a crazy man is involved, even tangentially, to the news. Technically hes a source and you should interview him and share his side of the story. He has a right to free speech and can say whatever he wants. While you should report every side of the story and let people make their own conclusions (“just the facts ma’am”), reporting on crazy mans side of the story doesn’t help. The news is better by excluding a source.
Basically we all know local TV typically doesn’t interview ‘crazy man’ and probably actively avoids it. Crazy man might (always) has something to say but is crazy as per his definition. Giving him a platform just means hes gonna say crazy stuff of little substance just for attention (or worse). The local TV news crew never interviews him because of this. The TV news crew rightfully curates their content. They rightfully choose to exclude crazy man, who talks in bad faith, from the discussion.
Ok, let’s make a comparison. Valve and Steam and developers have had a contentious relationship. They did a mass removal of games released on steam (the ‘anime tittie holocaust’) to much outcry. Some accuse Valve of being a bad actor and ‘limiting free speech’ or whatever. But valve is the local news. They don’t have to put everyone on their platform. Crazy man’s free speech is protected (you can self distribute games, nobody is putting crazy man in jail). However, others say that Valve is curating inconsistently or strangely (they are). Valve still puts a lot of ‘crazy mans’ on their platform. They need to actually curate to be a good local news show. If the local news put everyone on the air it would just be crazy mans. Valve is not handling the crazy man paradox well. I suspect its because there is a misunderstanding (or no understanding) of what is expected to be on steam.
The major issue with the crazy man paradox is who decides if the man is crazy? Sometimes its easy to tell who a crazy man is. But in truth, we all have a little crazy man in us. There are some subjects and topics we are the crazy man about.
A secondary problem is what if an important part of the story includes the crazy man? Hitler was a crazy man. But he created a genocidal totalitarian regime that impacted world history. We all learn about him, but we always frame him as a crazy man. The paradox implies we shouldn’t talk about him, even though its important we do so we dont repeat the mistakes of the past and learn to never be like him.
So anyway that’s what’s been in my head for a while. And I’m honestly not sure if I’m the best to articulate this or if I’m poking at something else that better explains what I’m getting at. I’m hoping this either helps people understand things a little bit or can help others educate me on something I should probably know.
Or, I could just be a crazy man…