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Crowdsourcing Some Human Decency

Take a look at this dating advice: “decide that you’re going to sit in a position where you can rub her leg and back. Physically pick her up and sit her on your lap. Don’t ask for permission. Be dominant. Force her to rebuff your advances.”

Offended? So were we. And so were a lot of other folks. Unfortunately, these misogynistic, violent words of wisdom were part of a “seduction guide” shared and funded on the site Kickstarter.

For those of you not familiar with the site, Kickstarter is a website that allows crowdsourcing of projects. Artists, musicians, writers, even gaming companies, create pitches about their projects, ask for funding, and promise different products for different levels of backing. Kickstarter explains their service stating,

Project creators set a funding goal and deadline. If people like a project, they can pledge money to make it happen. Funding on Kickstarter is all-or-nothing— projects must reach their funding goals to receive any money. All-or-nothing funding might seem scary, but it’s amazingly effective in creating momentum and rallying people around an idea. To date, an impressive 44% of projects have reached their funding goals.

Kickstarter also states that they are “a platform and a resource; we’re not involved in the development of the projects themselves. Anyone can launch a project on Kickstarter as long as it meets our guidelines.”

Check Out Some Kickstarter Projects More Aligned with Our Values:

If you ask me, Kickstarter is one of the more innovative companies out there. They provide a platform where anyone can turn a creative dream into a reality; they are the most dynamic engine of online-to-offline creativity out there. Unfortunately this week they also provided a platform for a dating manual that promotes assault when it states things like “even when a girl rejects your advances, she KNOWS that you desire her. That’s hot. It arouses her physically and psychologically.”

The project reached its funding goals, and despite protests from around the internet, Kickstarter did nothing to slow the project’s progress. Today Kickstarter has issued a statement entitled, “We Were Wrong.” They state, “the posts offended a lot of people—us included—and many asked us to cancel the creator’s project. We didn’t. We were wrong.” They go on to explain that their error was based on the need to act quickly, as well as a desire to never stifle the creative process.

What sets Kickstarter’s response apart from other organizations is that they didn’t just apologize—they took it a step further. After reiterating that offensive, hateful and violent material has no place on their website they stated that they will indeed be following up their words and with action and “will donate $25,000 to an anti-sexual violence organization called RAINN,” acknowledging that “it’s an excellent organization that combats exactly the sort of problems our inaction may have encouraged.”

Kickstarter messed up, there’s no getting around this fact. But, they handled their mistake with grace and dignity. They apologized. They explained their missteps. They took a hatchet to their own rules to ensure it would never happen again. Kickstarter only had a few hours to react, but they rose to the occasion after the fact. Unfortunately, what they can’t do is erase this type of violent thinking from our society. The “seduction guide” itself was created from dialogue espoused on the website Reddit, a community based forum for sharing news, stories, and funny pictures of cats. The dating practices shared weren’t the philosophies of one super-creepy guy, but part of a larger problem of disrespect.

I wish we could crowd-source some human decency.

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1 Comment

Really interesting Jordyn, thanksÌ¢‰â‰Û_!Ì¢‰â‰Û_

I think that you would be really interested in some recent research that I have come across about crowds and citizen science.Ì¢‰â‰Û_ Ì¢‰â‰Û_

ItÌ¢‰â‰ã¢s called Ì¢‰âÒThe Theory of Crowd CapitalÌ¢‰âÂå and you can download it here if youÌ¢‰â‰ã¢re interested:

Really powerful stuff!

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How to cite this page

Rozensky, Jordyn. "Crowdsourcing Some Human Decency." 21 June 2013. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on December 17, 2018) <>.


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