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CSUSB psychology professor discusses office online communication shaped by pandemic
The New York Times
Jan. 24, 2021

Mark Agars, CSUSB professor of psychology, was interviewed for an article about current office communication that has been shaped by the COVID-19 pandemic, some of it beginning to look as unruly as conversation on the internet. That’s because office conversation now is internet conversation due to stay-at-home/work-from-home directives. Many companies have been working online for nearly a year, with plans to continue well into 2021. And just as people are bolder behind keyboards on Twitter, they are bolder behind keyboards on workplace messaging platforms like Microsoft Teams and Slack — with all the good and all the bad, but with a lot more legal liability.

These new work tools were designed to look and feel like message boards and social media. Workers notice that and adopt similar behaviors, researchers say. The performative nature of Slack, where colleagues fuel discussions in vast chat rooms by adding emojis, for example, means frenzies grow and are hard to contain once they start.

“Employees ask themselves, ‘Well, what do I know that’s similar to Slack?’” said  Agars, who studies organizational psychology. “It’s a Reddit board. So we draw on those norms. And those norms are very different than professional norms.”

Read the complete article at “How to keep internet trolls out of remote workplaces.”

CSUSB professor discusses arson attack at El Monte church opposed to same-sex marriage
The Sun/Southern California News Group
Jan. 23, 2021

An El Monte church that was threatened this month with an arson attack over its extremist views and condemnation of same-sex marriage was damaged early Saturday, Jan. 23, when someone threw a bomb at the building, blowing out windows.

The church, a target of recent protests, has asserted that the government should execute gay people, San Bernardino hate-speech expert Brian Levin said Saturday.

Levin said the church’s teachings are moving against a current of tolerance after centuries of mainstream faiths degrading gays and in some cases, describing homosexuality as an unforgivable sin that a smaller fraction of people believe should be punished.

He pointed to a 2020 Gallup poll in which 67% of responders said the government should recognize same-sex marriages — a flip from a 1996 Gallup poll in which only 27% of responders expressed that belief.

“The church has a been a target of protesters because of the horrifying assertion that the government should execute gay people,” Levin said, “especially at a time when we are seeing the LGBTQ community be hit by a string of violent crimes including a record year for transgender homicides.”

But, Levin added, “We don’t combat prejudice with spray paint and bombs.”

Read the complete article at “Bomb thrown into El Monte church criticized for extremist views on gay people, others.”

CSUSB professor describes extremist group member who is part of effort to recall governor
Los Angeles Times
Jan. 23, 2021

Brian Levin, professor of criminal justice and director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at Cal State San Bernardino, was interviewed for an article about some of the far-right extremists groups that are helping to fuel the recall campaign against Gov. Gavin Newsom. Those included groups promoting distrust of government, science and medicine; peddlers of QAnon doomsday conspiracies; “patriots” readying for battle.

The newspaper reported that one organizer has been aligning himself with the extremists groups the Three Percenters and the Proud Boys. Levin described the Three Percenters as “an anti-government paramilitary group that promotes the idea that violence is legitimate to combat gun control laws.”

Read the complete article at “Far-right movements including QAnon, virus skeptics linked to Newsom recall.”

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