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.)
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.)