The Antisocial Network

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Büge
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Re: The Antisocial Network

Postby Büge » Sat Aug 11, 2018 10:49 pm

Thad wrote:the top 5 posters -- us, Brent, Buge, and Elfin -- made up about 25% of all posts


How did I sustain that much engagement in the boards back then?

...now that I think about it, the membership was much larger and more active. There was always something new to talk about. That's probably why I've transferred my flag over to Talking Time for the most part.
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Re: The Antisocial Network

Postby Thad » Sun Aug 12, 2018 1:30 am

You're still in the top five.

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Büge
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Re: The Antisocial Network

Postby Büge » Sun Aug 12, 2018 9:14 am

I am?

Well, whaddaya know.
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Re: The Antisocial Network

Postby Z%rø » Mon Aug 13, 2018 3:48 pm

I've mostly opted out of networks where I am not explicitly in control content that I see (my echo chamber has wonderful acoustics) or the people I interact with. Not that these boards aren't fine - it's just that I find other places where I can hold a conversation at both the depth and speed at which I require.

Twitter is there if I want to see what's going on among those I follow or if I just want to shout about a cloud and not expect a response or interaction. Tumblr is there for when I want to be fed content by those I follow and I can post things I consider my own content. Discord is there for engaging in communities with people in active conversation. Reddit is there when I want to dig deep on a niche game/community's particular resources.

With regards to the state of discourse: I truly think we're fucked on that. I don't know when we went from "If you don't like a platform, go make your own" to "YOU CANNOT BAN ME FROM YOUR PLATFORM, YOU ARE DESTROYING MY FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS!!!". I am actually fairly annoyed with how spineless (Or, perhaps more unscrupulous than I ever thought) the entire collection of them are.
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Brentai
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Re: The Antisocial Network

Postby Brentai » Mon Aug 13, 2018 4:11 pm

Probably around the time people started claiming that the number of Twitter followers you have affects what kind of hotel rooms you can book.
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Re: The Antisocial Network

Postby Lottel » Mon Aug 13, 2018 4:21 pm

Back when my ex went nuclear on my internet presence, I took a look around and tried to rid myself of a lot of needless flab. I also shopped around for new social media platform is barnacle myself onto.

I now have a discord solely for one single group chat. I got a new Twitter that was fine for a while, if a little lonely and then my ex found an attacked that one. Facebook I was barely using (too out of my control but still posted occasional baby pictures due to demand) to know I avoid like a disease.

I'm trying to post here but I don't video game or discuss politics. I've READ everything since we started these boards but I honestly have a hard time posting and waiting for a reply.

It's one of those fun things where I'm sure there's a lot of posters who are just waiting for more traffic to post more.

I've been trying lately to be more present, though.
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Re: The Antisocial Network

Postby Lottel » Mon Aug 13, 2018 4:25 pm

Everyone I know is just on Twitter "until we find the next twitter". Some are also using Mastodon but social networks require widespread adoption for them to be used in the way they are used now and nothing has that push towards saturation. Until then, I'm just throwing my hat into a hundred rings and hoping a city forms around it. Again, I'm waiting for posters to post so I can reply.

I don't know what the next social network I'm waiting for would look like but I'd like it to be short form and primarily for text instead of media.

I'd prefer it to be devoid of nazis but it's surprising how fucking hard it is for someone in a position of power to agree.
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Re: The Antisocial Network

Postby Brentai » Mon Aug 13, 2018 4:43 pm

The big problem is that a social network needs wide adoption but nobody actually WANTS a social network to have wide adoption. That's why the ones that are thriving right now all seem content to do what's best for themselves and to give everybody else the finger.
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Re: The Antisocial Network

Postby Mongrel » Mon Aug 13, 2018 7:24 pm

Yeah, niche social networks are all trying to find ways to be the next WoW killer Twitter/FB so they can get into the promised land of sweet sweet venture capital and ad revenue.

The second one is kind of silly if you think about it, because if you have a strong niche social network built around any sort of theme or common ground it seems like businesses appealing to that market segment would get far more bang for their buck advertising on a more dedicated platform. But while that does happen sometimes, it seems like most businesses just lazily pay a third party data firm to package and service their ads (which is of course how we get legit ads next to script-scams or wacky mismatches between bands and platforms which embarrass businesses and make the news).
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Re: The Antisocial Network

Postby Yoji » Tue Aug 14, 2018 12:37 am

*checks Facebook* ...heh, my last post was in late June this year, and I was asking if anyone else was on Mastodon. I still go back for IMs, keeping tabs on Warcraft guildies, and the occasional group event.

But for the most part I feel kind of stranded in the wilderness. I can't go back, at least not for long; it had become a 24/7 terrible Thanksgiving dinner at best, and that was before the data collection genie got out of the bottle, and long before the unprecedented electronic ratfucking in 2016. That's one of the main reasons I found my way back to our fair message boards: of all the islands I'm hopping between, this one is the biggest, safest, and well-charted.

Maybe it's better that way? Social networks that are more compartmentalized? It sure seems that way on my mental whiteboard, but real life has a nasty habit of ruining everything nice.
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Re: The Antisocial Network

Postby Thad » Tue Aug 14, 2018 9:40 pm

Mongrel wrote:Yeah, niche social networks are all trying to find ways to be the next WoW killer Twitter/FB so they can get into the promised land of sweet sweet venture capital and ad revenue.

The second one is kind of silly if you think about it, because if you have a strong niche social network built around any sort of theme or common ground it seems like businesses appealing to that market segment would get far more bang for their buck advertising on a more dedicated platform. But while that does happen sometimes, it seems like most businesses just lazily pay a third party data firm to package and service their ads (which is of course how we get legit ads next to script-scams or wacky mismatches between bands and platforms which embarrass businesses and make the news).


Doctorow had an article last month titled Zuck’s Empire of Oily Rags where he observed that targeted advertising on Facebook really isn't that effective, it's just much more effective than traditional advertising, which is very, very ineffective.

Yoji wrote:That's one of the main reasons I found my way back to our fair message boards: of all the islands I'm hopping between, this one is the biggest, safest, and well-charted.

Maybe it's better that way? Social networks that are more compartmentalized? It sure seems that way on my mental whiteboard, but real life has a nasty habit of ruining everything nice.


That's certainly how I feel about it.

It also fits my posting habits. I quit #ff in large part because I'm not good at being a passive observer in a live chat, and if I start hanging out in one it starts eating up all my time. And I find the Twitter/Mastodon microblogging format to be antithetical to saying anything complex, nuanced, and meaningful. (Mastodon's default 500 characters are better than Twitter's 280, but still not enough. Granted, a Mastodon instance can set its own character limit, but I still prefer blogs for monologuing and messageboards for dialoguing.)

I do think there's a potential future in a return to smaller, more intimate platforms -- not that they'll necessarily replace the giant networks, but that they might become more viable alternatives again. (See the Budweiser/microbrewery analogy I used earlier. Budweiser isn't going anywhere, but neither are microbreweries.)

And I think effective moderation is only possible when moderators are part of the community. If you don't understand context and inside jokes, you can't tell the difference between a post that's abusive and one that's not.

For example, I once described Romo as "just barely one level above a black." My recollection is that he thought it was funny and (this was back when we had karma) gave me a karma for it. (And Romo, if I am misremembering and you didn't think it was funny, then I apologize, and I apologize for bringing it up again now.) Out of context, that remark is racist as fuck. In context, it is an ironic reference to a racist remark made by somebody else. It's an inside joke.

If somebody -- let's say Yyler, he used to get really mad about how he didn't get all our inside jokes -- if Yyler had reported my post (let's assume for the sake of argument that I'm not an admin in this scenario, even though I was when I wrote it), the admins could have explained to him that no, it's okay, it's an inside joke.

But on Twitter, the moderators have no way of understanding context or recognizing inside jokes.

And, what's worse, this is easy for trolls to weaponize.

Somebody gets mad at you, all they have to do is go through all your old posts, find one that looks offensive when taken out of context, and report it. Here's a recent example on Techdirt: How Twitter Suspended The Account Of One Of Our Commenters... For Offending Himself? It's about a guy who got his account suspended for using a homophobic slur -- in reference to himself.

And this is another one of those "we've heard this song before" things. That's exactly the sort of shit that used to happen on the Prodigy boards back in the old days. Moderators were piss-poor at punishing abusive posts, but they were a great resource that trolls (we called them "bashers" back then) could exploit: find somebody you don't like, go through his old posts, and report anything that looks even slightly controversial.

It is pretty frustrating to remember how much we hated that shit 25 years ago and observe that people have voluntarily gone back to platforms that work like that, that are so big that moderation is likelier to be used by abusive posters than against them.

Basically, as messy as things have gotten here -- not lately, but at various points over the past 16 years --, moderation decisions have always been personal. Again, moderation of any kind (or lack thereof) is always going to attract a certain amount of grousing, but even when it was bigger this community's always been small enough that the mods knew who they were dealing with and the context of things people were saying. Admin decisions are made with that knowledge of context.

And while certainly there have been disagreements over whether a reported post actually warranted any kind of mod action, I think on the rare occasions people have clicked Report, they've done so in good faith.

Except Guild. But he used the Report button to annoy admins, not because he actually thought it would get anybody in trouble. (In fact I think he may have used it exclusively on his own posts.)

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Re: The Antisocial Network

Postby Mongrel » Fri Sep 28, 2018 9:19 pm

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Re: The Antisocial Network

Postby Thad » Sat Sep 29, 2018 2:24 pm

Masnick notes that this is probably incompetence, not malice, and that Facebook's spam filters likely trigger when thousands of people try to post the same story at the same time.

Still, that's no excuse; it's a bad look and it also highlights that automated filters just aren't very good.

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Re: The Antisocial Network

Postby Mongrel » Sat Sep 29, 2018 5:34 pm

Yeah, it's too much of an obvious shot in the foot to be deliberate, even for Facebook. Still funny and telling though.
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Re: The Antisocial Network

Postby Mongrel » Wed Oct 17, 2018 11:48 pm

I assume many of you have seen this news by now, but it's still worth mentioning:





Facebook is THE reason every fucking website tries to show you a video instead of just giving you a fucking article to read. Oh and also incidentally destroyed thousands of careers of good (and bad) writers.

I can't find it right now but there was a (probably unscientific) poll up earlier today that was like "What do you do when you open a link to an article and there's no actual article, it's only a video?" and the response was 99% for "Immediately close the page".

I'm reminded about Thad and Brent talking about security updates yesterday and how we're just driving everyone towards trusting nothing. Sometimes, your gut is wrong and you need to be willing to accept that the data needs to be acknowledged. But sometimes the data is wrong, and you need to listen to your gut telling you "No really, what the fuck is this shit?" and triple-check that motherfucker.

As always, looking very carefully at who stands to gain is one of the more useful things you can do.
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Re: The Antisocial Network

Postby Thad » Thu Oct 18, 2018 1:00 am

Mongrel wrote:Facebook is THE reason every fucking website tries to show you a video instead of just giving you a fucking article to read. Oh and also incidentally destroyed thousands of careers of good (and bad) writers.

And now that they've been found out, that's going to destroy thousands of careers of people who make videos.

I'm reminded about Thad and Brent talking about security updates yesterday and how we're just driving everyone towards trusting nothing. Sometimes, your gut is wrong and you need to be willing to accept that the data needs to be acknowledged. But sometimes the data is wrong, and you need to listen to your gut telling you "No really, what the fuck is this shit?" and triple-check that motherfucker.

And if we're to carry the security analogy a step farther, of course the best thing you can do is own your own shit.

I'm the first guy to say that's not a reasonable expectation for end users, but we're not talking about end users here; we're talking about media outlets. Specifically, we're talking about media outlets who decided it would be a good idea to try and save money by letting Facebook handle their analytics for them instead of paying their own IT department to do it in-house.

It's fucking easy to tell when people are closing out a page as soon as they see what's on it; you just have to be able to trust the server it's running on, the stats package that's running on it, and the staff that's telling you what it says.

You can get excellent server and stats software for free. But you can't get servers, bandwidth, or IT staff for that price. If you think you are, then you don't understand how hidden costs work.

You want to pick a subject that's going to get me worked up in a hurry, that's like a perfect storm of shit that pisses me off: poor cost/benefit analysis, lack of respect for staff (writers, IT, everybody), poor understanding of how trust works, the lure of a free lunch, jumping on fucking trends because everybody else is doing it...

The companies that are getting bitten in the ass by this deserve it. It's just a pity that there are so many people who work for those companies (or used to) who don't deserve it.

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Re: The Antisocial Network

Postby Mongrel » Thu Oct 18, 2018 1:10 am

Thad wrote:And now that they've been found out, that's going to destroy thousands of careers of people who make videos.

It already is. Part of the reason this is all over the news is because of the widespread layoffs to video staff among media orgs.

Also, yeah, people who lose money by cheaping out in trying save money are a particular annoyance to me too.
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Re: The Antisocial Network

Postby Thad » Thu Oct 18, 2018 1:21 am

All that said, though, it is reductive to lay the whole "let's move toward video" trend at Facebook's feet.

Facebook certainly didn't help, but the rise of YouTube is an obvious driving factor too. And a lot of the sites moving toward video are owned by TV companies, which are already bound to have their own biases in favor of video content. Yeah, I find it obnoxious as fuck that every CNN article has a video at the top of it now -- but it's also CNN. I don't think it took much arm-twisting to convince executives at CNN that people wanted to watch the news in a video format.

And I see sites like AV Club making a big push toward video instead of text, too -- but I notice that happened after Univision bought AV Club. Again, it's probably not hard to steer a TV company toward emphasizing video content.

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Re: The Antisocial Network

Postby Mongrel » Thu Oct 18, 2018 1:26 am

I don't mind having videos on an article for those who want them, but I just want to read things.

For one thing, it's invariably a hell of a lot faster than watching a video with the same content.
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Re: The Antisocial Network

Postby Thad » Thu Oct 18, 2018 10:29 am

Mongrel wrote:I don't mind having videos on an article for those who want them

I kinda do.

First of all, the goddamn things are inevitably set to Autoplay. Fuck you. The only sites where it's okay for videos to autoplay are ones where watching videos is the entire purpose of the site (YouTube, Netflix, etc.). Second, some sites (like CNN) don't even have a way to close the video. It moves to the sidebar and just fucking stays there as you're scrolling down.

Are there people who actually do this -- watch a video while reading the article summarizing the video? What is the purpose of this?

(Notably, this probably fucks the stats, unless you have them set up to be really granular -- not just measuring things like how long somebody stayed on the page, but also how long they watched the video, how far they scrolled through the article, whether they paused the video before scrolling through the article, etc. And stuff like "did they scroll down while the video was still playing" requires client-side scripting.)

If you want to put a video at the top of an article, okay, fine. Just don't make it autoplay and don't make it stay on the screen when I scroll down.

If you want to have a page that's just a video with no article, that's okay too, but clearly mark it so I don't waste my time opening it. (The little "video" icon on Google News doesn't stand out enough.)

I've become a really big fan of Firefox's Reader Mode, but it doesn't work on every site.

(And let's not get me started on AMP.)

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