I refer of course to the Milo Yiannopoulos situation (edit: I said the article didn't mention. I missed the mention.). The man deserved what he got, but there are dozens of accounts that were his "executors" - doing the actual harassment for him in many cases - who got off scot-free, while he remains banned. There is no consistency.
I think there's a possibility that the arbitrary enforcement is partially because Twitter knows that if it were consistent in enforcing its own rules, so much of its population of users would disappear that it would be hobbling itself.
The only "safe" way to use Twitter now is as an echo chamber - only follow people you like, only talk to people who think the same way you do. That's a waste.
This x100. If you have no followers and no one is re-tweeting your vitriolic slime, why should twitter care, they simply want you to stay on the platform. Now if your circle has reach and you are a known public name, they must act as if they care. They play politics to please the masses, without subjecting the masses to the same politicking.
I'm not sure that a plug/PSA about a government program really counts as "shilling your product", we're talking about a program that was enacted by the congress and signed into law by the president, at a minimum it's totally distinct from plugging a product that you own or profit from.
"Echo chamber" is a deliberately pejorative term, which I think is unfair here. If you use Twitter to discuss your beliefs, then, yes, it functions like an echo chamber, and that can be a bad thing because when your beliefs are wrong, they won't be constructively challenged.
But I generally use Twitter to discuss my interests. Sure, the line between the two is fuzzy, but I think there is a difference. I love pixel art, and follow a lot of pixel artists. Does that make my feed a "pixel art echo chamber"? I guess so? But that seems to me about as harmless as joining model railroad club.
Does this ever happen? It seems to me like every time someone says something unpopular, the world goes on a witch hunt to destroy that person's life. That's not what I call "constructively challenged". I call it "just short of hanging them, which is what people really want to do."
I'd love to see a world where I could debate a matter with someone without everyone getting so emotionally charged that logic gets thrown out the window, and ideas that are incorrect can be pointed out to a person without everyone hating one another.
Every time I've witnessed a "debate" where people "constructively challenge" people who have opposite views, it ended in a shouting match.
I'm happy to avoid any such "debate." In my experience, the kind of debate you describe tends to happen far more often between people who have (paradoxically?) similar views, and who just like to explore ideas and challenge each other.
That intellectual trait is completely orthogonal to the views themselves. The closest thing I tend to compare it to is the charity principle, but that may not encapsulate everything quite right.
It used to be that you lived next to your neighbor and you had to talk to them or at least acknowledge their humanity even if you disagreed. In the early days we all heralded the internet as ushering an a new era of enlightenment and democracy with freedom of information for everyone.
Of course the reality is that when there was only one nightly television news program, those creators felt some responsibility to report objectively, and no pressure to pander to some demographic. Now, anyone can get any view point they want at any time. There is no value in thoughtful, reasoned opinions because that doesn't resonate with a highly opinionated audience—it's better to be loved or hated than passively respected. You don't have to talk to your neighbor at all because you can literally stare at your phone every time you are outside. No one ever has to hear an opinion they don't like, and when they do they can find their own bespoke mob to initiate a witch hunt.
Technology has enabled us to have a civil war without needing to be divided by a physical border. The tribes can coalesce from arbitrary locations.
There absolutely is, if you have a friend of a friend work there in which case you can get special backchannel treatment and they'll ban whomever tweets something unpleasant at you.
That is by no means safe, when brigaders are actively looking for opportunities for whipping up a mob.
Basically, you'd get the same experience by having an email list of your friends.
No. Twitter incorrectly used him as some kind of example. They had also did temp bans on him in the past and also the immature move of removing his check mark.
The harassment was happening WELL before Milo was tweeting the ghostbuster. Milo wrote the article. Milo's tweets weren't anywhere NEAR harassment level. Trolling a famous person on twitter is not harassment and brigading. And as many have already shown the ghostbuster herself was just as guilty in the past of attempts at brigading.
There's even some communication from her where she was actually thrilled the incident would give exposure to her and the movie. Whatever people think of this, Milo didn't cause her any suffering or feeling of being 'unsafe' Other harassers were deplorable. Milo was not in that category.
This provides a civilized version of Twitter that is mostly populated by smart and funny people.
So Twitter removed a professional jerk from the Verified streams while allowing him to continue as a rabble-rouser.
Removing Milo's check out of politically-driven spite definitely undermines the validity of the entire verification system.
> Removing Milo's check out of politically-driven spite definitely undermines the validity of the entire verification system.
That sounds like a prejudiced opinion expressed in prejudicial language. However, you might consider this section from I’m With The Banned
Milo is excited. This is his night. How does he feel about his suspension?
“It’s fantastic,” he says, “It’s the end of the platform. The timing is perfect.”
He was planning for something like this. “I thought I had another six months, but this was always going to happen.”
Milo shows no remorse for the avalanche of misconduct he helped direct towards Leslie Jones, who is just the latest victim of the recreational ritual abuse he likes to launch at women and minorities for the fame and fun of it.
He shows no remorse because she clearly didn't suffer from anything he said. Like I said before. Other people actually harassed, he didn't. Trolling a celebrity star of a bad movie isn't harassment by any measure. His comments were intelligent and funny. His article on Breitbart was scathing, which is why Jack targeted him, to set an example.
Also stated before, She was happy to leverage it for publicity. So much for being traumatized. And another thing, Milo doesn't launch abuse at Minorities. In fact, since he's in love with british black men, your comment has no value there because you're clearly uninformed on his background.
Milo attacks ideas and does sophisticated trolling. Judging by Twitter's crashing stock price right when this incident occurred, it can't be denied that Twitter's censoring of an minor media celebrity proved it made a bad move. So much so, Jack's been trying to put out the fire, even where he addressed it for a canned question during the investor phone call. He just wants it to go away.
So, you've been suckered by an obvious troll.
> In fact, since he's in love with british black men, your comment has no value there because you're clearly uninformed on his background.
You're funny. OK, answer these questions:
1) Where was Milo born?
2) What was his birth name?
3) What does his father do for a living?
I have another dozen if you get any of those right.
One of us knows Milo and it isn't you ;-)
Twitter circa 2009 before Kutcher vs CNN? This still exists?
I did suggest some time ago that Twitter could monetize by charging a high fee for verification (with, say, passport scans and other personal details). Sadly, they do it free.
Milo had tens of thousands of flying monkeys to troll and harass people on his behalf. He knew this perfectly well, and used it all the time.
His tweets didn't need to be particularly harassing: all he had to do was point the finger. Which he did.
That's an plainly insane rule. How about Twitter actually ban people who actually break the site rules, act with some small measure of maturity, and stop moderating with a political bias that a child could see?
Give $10,000-$25,000 to The Clinton Foundation
And thanks to his thuggish role in gamergate, he had plenty of "previous".
What objective facts do you base this on? The tweets themselves are completely innocuous.
And meanwhile, people who post actual harassment and threats are left unscathed (I've personally reported a few myself), and while I'm not privy to what happens in Jack's office, it definitely quacks like it's okay to to harass if you subscribe to one political mindset, but not another.
But then, Milo is just riding Trump, and plenty of Republicans take him seriously as well. (Not all, of course. Some have retained their integrity https://goplifer.com/2016/07/22/resignation-letter/ )
The problem is that people who are being taken for a ride obviously don't know they are being taken for a ride, or they wouldn't be. And they definitely don't want to know that: they'll just get angry. So it's much better not to tell them....
I guess any self-righteous and simple-minded "cause" like #gamergate is likely to attract trolls and misogynists, but my personal experience on Twitter was that it was mainly backed by thick bigots. Of course, YMMV.
Just the sort of crowd that Milo can manipulate. And in his cynical self-aggrandising universe, dupes are there to be manipulated.
Most of what you're hearing is horribly, horribly slanted, if not outright false. Ask yourself why we're supposed to take someone that cries "i'm being harassed!" on faith. Ask yourself why certain prominent individuals have been caught faking harassment directed at themselves.
http://deepfreeze.it - literally every single point of discussion on this site is backed up with a citation, and it provides a very strong, very plausible alternative to the narrative surrounding that movement. I'm not going to say that trolls in there don't exist, but it's not near as significant a component of the group as you've been led to believe.
Not in my personal experience, both of Milo and of Gamergate. Glad to hear you have a different and better experience, but I saw the harassment and thuggery in action.
your claim. I was reading his tweets and you're wrong. It's simple. you don't have a leg to stand on. And thanks to twitter, we don't have the records to look at either. But since I was reading them I know, so I don't have to take your claim into consideration.
If Milo deserved to be banned, then so does 30-40% of Twitter. He did nothing wrong, and certainly nothing worse than this: https://twitter.com/wikileaks/status/756219192878268416
Which is what Facebook is right now.
An echo chamber is bad because it not only repeatedly re-broadcasts beliefs, it also amplifies them. "The President is wrong and should be voted out of office" can turn into "The President is wrong and ought to be shot" in an echo chamber environment much faster if there's nobody around to say "wait, hold up, maybe don't."
Note this is NOT shooting out facts, not necessarily a close individual who you've built repoire with, and in fact almost zero talking. AND it persists for at least 3 months!
It's small, but it's also viable and completely different than what most people I know think of when we go out to "change someone's mind."
[Nolan 2010]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inception
P.S. Sorry... couldn't resist ;)
Are you implying that social media created Donald Trump?
My friends and I can change each other's minds quite often, by approaching arguments from their own rubric. For example, by drawing an analogy between the topic of discussion and one of their deeply held views, exposing some dissonance.
But it takes time, empathy, and understanding. Which is to say I doubt it ever happens on the internet.
It helps that I'm not employed in software engineering, so I have a degree of humility. Well, a little.
The rules are: Don't believe anything that isn't substantiated, Do be open to new ideas, but don't be afraid to question them, and don't be afraid to re-evaluate your position. After all, your ideas deserve as much skepticism as anybody else's.
That's like saying someone who comes up with a bunch of scientific hypotheses and never tests them should have more confidence in them than someone who does. Holding on to your beliefs even in the face of evidence/arguments to the contrary is not a sign of having better or more considered beliefs, it's a sign of arrogance. If you truly think that you're never wrong about anything so there is no reason to even look for contrary data, that is especially arrogant.
Rational arguments, a bit of rhetorical ability, and persistence are surprisingly effective. The problem is the persistence part requires multiple interactions over months or years, so it's hard to study.
You won't charge their mind, but maybe you won't see each other in such negative light for what each person believes.
Sure those changes are generational as people don't get their opinion changed easily.
But allowing these discussion to take place freely especially amongst the youth is essential to let them shape their world.
So you want to change someone's opinion, but not going to allow someone to change yours?
I guess we'll end up with a conservative twitter clone, and a liberal twitter, and no-one will ever face the "danger" of seeing viewpoints they disagree with.
I think the difference behind the political fireworks is this: conservatives already revel in sub-communities like churches where they can protect themselves from unwanted speech. Progressives are starting to dominate open places like universities to the extent that they want the same privilege there.
1. Not leftist
2. In Europe
Both want freedom of speech sometimes and both want to be able to block out dissenting voices at others.
The trick is finding a balance. Too big of an echochamber can be unhealthy, too small of one and little discussion about core beliefs gets discussed (everything gets sidetracked by the dissenters).
Young conservatives definitely seem to be outnumbered online, and I've seen them put up walls so they can discuss their beliefs without being constantly picked apart by people with alternative beliefs.
So I think the divide on ideological lines is unrealistic. Just human nature (good and bad).
As a live-right-now example, the mods of /r/The_Donald on Reddit are preemtively banning users before Trump's AMA to prevent dissent, and have stated plainly they will delete any unflattering questions.
You're example is false equivalency. And what you call a preemptive ban, you'll actually discover that they are quite used to being brigaded on that subreddit and they know who participates. And bans aren't necessarily permanent there.
Having rules that say "we don't value free speech or discourse" doesn't excuse them.
Also, reddit allows you to subscribe, but twitter creates a stronger relationship between poster and followers. You'd be subscribed to a particular person but when they are banned, all their history is gone, you no longer see anything. It's like someone came into your house and took away one of your favorite TV channels, as well as anything you had recorded from that channel on your DVR.
Who is this THEY you keep referring to anyway? You keep saying 'they' like readers are just supposed to know.
No, they weren't. They were authoritarian conservatives. (In the US, there's often a confusion between "conservative" and "libertarian", and if you confuse those and assume anything that isn't libertarian must be progressive, I can see how you'd make that mistake, but Bush/Cheney is about as far from progressive as you can get.)
> Conservatives and libertarians have criticized Bush for greatly increased domestic spending, creating a new entitlement program for prescription drugs, failing to veto a single bill, and expanding both the size and scope of government
What are you talking about?
And a "privately-owned platform" that is open to the public, used by a nontrivial amount of people, advertised by the owners as a place for public discussion, quoted in the media, etc etc etc isn't so "private" anymore.
Hmm. I'd like to hear those arguments, since by itself the notion doesn't sound particularly compelling.
It's a problem with freedom of speech and private property in general, and why some people have considered the idea of treating large social platforms as closer to utilities rather than businesses.
No, they're not. They're the ones saying that people shouldn't be allowed to protest many things like Chik-Fil-A's support of gay marriage bans, protesting police departments that act like black lives don't matter, etc.
I don't like him or think like him, but it's sure fun to have a firsthand view on the dumpster fire that is the 2016 election.
Bill and I were actually talking about what kind of investments GV was looking to make. He stressed that GV was looking to invest in businesses that were actually good businesses. As a counterexample, he brought up Twitter, which at the time he considered to be a "good investment" (said with a grin and a wink) but not a "good business". I had one of those feelings that you get when somebody really smart just shared with you The Truth.
Later I found myself in a conversation with Joi, I think as part of a group and not one-on-one, and Joi was talking about Twitter's lack of revenue. Joi was an early stage investor in Twitter, and he was telling us something to the effect of, "once we have all these users, we're going to bring everyone to the table and figure out how to monetize and what we can charge for."
Over the years I've thought a lot about Bill's distinction between a "good investment" and a "good business", and about Joi's "users first, money later" optimism. I always felt like Bill would be proven right in the long-term, and I think at this point he sorta has been.
Ultimately, though, either approach to investing can work -- but if you're gonna do the Joi thing, you gotta know when to get out of the trade. (I have no idea if/when Joi got out... just stating a general principle.)
I suspect that in 10 years Facebook will be an exception rather than a rule.
I've wondered how Twitter would have been different if they'd taken a similar approach: $1 per account per year. They'd certainly be smaller than they are now, but I suspect they'd still be bringing in several hundred million a year before going the advertising route--the pursuit of which seems to be at the root of a lot of their questionable product decisions over the last few years.
None of that's directly relevant to the article, of course, which is implicitly about better filtering tools. I continue to be kind of bemused that this is so difficult for modern services to figure out, given that LiveJournal essentially figured it out fifteen years ago. Yes, the two services aren't directly comparable, but it wouldn't be wildly difficult to offer controls over, for example, who's allowed to @mention you.
IMO had Twitter tried to charge their demise would have been even faster than the current slow but steady decline we're all watching.
It's possible none of that would work, either, but I'm confident in saying there are at least tens of millions of people who do get value from Twitter. They've chosen a business model where having "merely" tens of millions of users may not be enough to support them, but I don't think that points to an intrinsic flaw in Twitter's concept--just an intrinsic flaw in their particular monetization strategy.
I don't think it's impossible to convert a large non-monetizing user-base into a profitable company (Google, Facebook, Snapchat, etc.) but I think that strategy is not a wise one for someone interested in building a sustainable company. There's a bigger reward to scaling before monetizing, but there's also a bigger gamble.
Then "money later."
If anything happens that makes vested individuals doubt that Twitter is worth as much as it is, its value will drop, as it did right after the Q2 2016 earnings report was released.
In 2015 they posted a Net Income of -$521.03M and EBITDA of -$137.21M.
I don't exactly understand how those two numbers can differ so much, but either way they're pretttty bad.
I don't understand these statements that "Twitter is fucked". Twitter could improve filtering and safety but if it never changed I'd probably still get my news from it for the rest of my life. I just can't think of a better app for my use cases. I often like Twitter Moments, like something funny or some pop culture stuff I wouldn't have picked up on.
Every time there is breaking news Twitter carries it first.
I don't want longer tweets. That's what URL's are for. If you want to discuss really distill your thoughts and thread them. I'm on here to scan for stuff that lights up my brain not have an Op-Ed shoved in my face taking up the whole screen.
I just don't understand. I love twitter.
Twitter can be successful, at the same type that Pokemon, Facebook and other are successful. These companies aren't mutually exclusive.
The reason Twitter is screwed is because they created a popular product and absolutely no idea on to make money on it. Just freaking charge the users $10 per year after the first year and $250 for business accounts and be done with it. If people truly love Twitter, as much as they claim, it shouldn't be a problem.
For a brief moment, I thought Google had a chance with Google+. The discussion model is better, the moderation tools are better, but it just doesn't have the users. I wonder if they had launched with a read/write API and good developer libraries, would Google+ have achieved critical mass? I'd still love to see Google try this since they really have nothing to lose at this point.
When they launched all the talk was focused on the social network. The focus should have been on the primary product which is that they introduced an account system. The social network just simply came with it for free. You could use it or not use it.
Google accounts meant you no longer needed to use your Gmail accounts to sign up for Google services.
Could bind everything, Gmail, any other Google services all to the same Google account. When Google then pushed to get people onto the new accounts system people thought Google was trying to shove the social network down their throats.
The social network again, though was secondary to the account system. Google+ likely would have been better received had people been properly informed on the benefits of creating a Google account.
The "G+ is just an identity layer on top of Google" was a common soundbite reported by executives at the time, and perhaps they even believed it, but my engineers-level view as someone who worked with the G+ codebase was that this was mostly marketing speak to differentiate us from Facebook and deflect criticism of "Well, if G+ is a new social network, why would I use it over Facebook?" By saying it's the identity layer for Google, they can then say "Well, you use Google already, this is just the social layer that ties all Google products together." On a technical level a "G+ account" was just a bit set in your Gaia record that indicated whether you had opted in to G+ features.
Then again, the guy responsible for the mess was an ex-MS exec that continued the mentality of mentally tying his fief with everything else. Sadly Google is taking forever to untangle the knot (likely because it is unsexy maintenance work).
This right here.
Medium, PostHaven, Wordpress, blog services, etc. All of those products exist for an extended thought. I always believed that where Twitter excels is in micro-sharing/blogging.
I am not willing to read, let alone comment on a 500+ word Facebook status post. But I'm certainly willing to enjoy/participate in a discourse over a 160 character thought.
If I am in the 500+ word reading mood, I goto Medium or PostHaven or the equivalent blog-platform. Where there's a forum, there's an audience. And Twitter's quick digestible tweets cultivates an insane amount of diverse discourse.
Sure, there's harassment. Sure there's spam. But there's a lot of gems on Twitter.
End result is that rather than have the potential to build a conversation chain, readers have to manually drill the "tree".
Never mind that they never implemented support for merged SMS (introduced all the way back in the 90s!), so you are constantly stuck at 140 characters.
All in all it is a quintessential US company with the classic US mobile network blinders firmly fitted.
Now maybe they just haven't discovered, or innovated, a business model that'll at least stop them from taking on more water. Nevertheless, I'm curious how much it's worth to you, in dollars, per day, per month or per year. Because $0 isn't working, clearly.
But you're right, just perhaps not in the way you mean, Twitter isn't going anywhere. $11 billion market cap is nothing to sneeze at, however it's lost about that much value in one year. So is it a going concern? Sure it'll probably still be here in a year, but my confidence level beyond 12 months is weak at best. Five years? shrug 50/50. If it's not profitable, how does it continue to function at a certain point? At what point is it functionally on life support?
If you use popularity as the main measure of usefulness then yellow press is useful too.
I'm just waiting for the rest of the world to realize this so I can dump Facebook Messenger without looking like an idiot.
i think moments and periscope are good steps. not perfect, but they emphasize _now_.
I dislike the way the article uses the word "violence". Nothing that happens on Twitter is violent. The definition of violence right from a Google search for "define:violence" is
behavior involving physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone or something
Nonetheless, the author articulates the reasons I do not use Twitter myself. The amount of drama that site creates seems, to a non-user, to be far in excess of the amount of insight it generates. I have never heard of a really great conversation or unique, insightful idea emerging on Twitter. I have heard, a lot, about idiotic fights that escalate into real world problems. I agree that the 140 character limit is the cause of such problems.
I can understand that he wants to make a distinction between aggressive word usage, and non-aggressive. But calling it "violence" is hyperbolic, and dangerous to free speech.
Threats of and exhortations to violence are universally considered unprotected by free speech. So people who dislike other peoples speech have an incentive to call it "violence".
Let's be honest here. These tweets aren't a discourse. It's a mob.
You have to manage Facebook. Twitter is just a way to convey thoughts and ideas, occasionally with things turning into a discussion. That is an important service with a definite need that Facebook has never filled.
As for up to date news, I follow Google's top 10 searches in Feedly (where I follow hundreds of sites) and it works as a pretty decent up-to-date top news trend that gets updated every hour or so. I can appreciate if every hour or so is too slow for some folks though. I'm not in media, and don't really care if Rihanna fell of the stage a few minutes ago during her concert, but I totally get it if others do.
If Google instituted a $0.99 monthly fee to use Google search, people would line up to pay it. They don't have to, because their business model works differently, but they could do that, and it would work. I'd probably pay for an account.
If Facebook instituted a $0.99 monthly fee to use that, a lot of people would do it just because it keeps them in the loop with their friends. And in fact, many people would be willing to pay $2.99/mo for a business account which gets to do more (like post more events or whatever). Again, this isn't their business model, but this would totally work as a business model.
People would pay for Uber de-facto; they do pay for Uber.
Likewise, half my coworkers have bought coin packs in Pokémon Go. In general, lots of games do pay models.
If Twitter added a $0.99/year fee, there would be a clone written in a more scalable architecture taking all their users within a week. Some businesses would keep Twitter accounts, but that number would decrease as they lost users. Remember that Twitter added some minor advertising and instantly started losing users.
There are tons of other startups with this problem. The idea these days is, get a bunch of users and introduce ads. The problem there is that when you add ads, you're fundamentally changing your service. It's a bait-and-switch. And once you do the switch, if people weren't willing to pay for your service before, they're not going to want to start paying for it in the form of ads.
However, as a game developer with Free-To-Play development PTSD, I think this rule rests on an implied-but-important condition: People are already using and loving the service. Imagine that some shiny new app called Spark launches tomorrow and vaguely promises to be Twitter 2.0, well no one would be willing to jump on unless it was free. Even $1 a month is too much for us short-attention-spanned smartphone users, as the total shift to F2P games on mobile has shown us. Nothing outside of Minecraft is in the top 100 grossing apps on Android nor iOS.
Perhaps the answer lies in starting free, getting people hooked, and then easing in a subscription fee? This would also come across as a bait-and-switch, as you said, and some users would inevitably flock to the next free clone.
Ultimately, and unfortunately, I don't think there's an easy answer to monetization anywhere...
No, that's exactly not what I'm saying. Uber did just fine starting as a pay service as do a great many games, Netflix, HBO, Amazon, etc.
> Imagine that some shiny new app called Spark launches tomorrow and vaguely promises to be Twitter 2.0, well no one would be willing to jump on unless it was free.
Right--that's because Twitter 2.0 is also fucked from the beginning: they don't have something users would pay for any more than Twitter 1.0 did.
> Even $1 a month is too much for us short-attention-spanned smartphone users, as the total shift to F2P games on mobile has shown us. Nothing outside of Minecraft is in the top 100 grossing apps on Android nor iOS.
F2P is basically just an advertising strategy; I'd count that as having something people are willing to pay for, because they're willing to pay for in-game purchases or premium experience subscriptions.
> Perhaps the answer lies in starting free, getting people hooked, and then easing in a subscription fee? This would also come across as a bait-and-switch, as you said, and some users would inevitably flock to the next free clone.
I guess I wasn't clear about this, but I think a bait-and-switch business strategy will work fine if you have something people value enough to pay for. It's kind of pointless, though, IMHO, because it doesn't fail fast: if it turns out you aren't providing people anything they value, then you won't find that out until you get to the "switch" part.
Ultimately, I think the bait-and-switch strategy is just a way to extract money from VCs and offload risk onto them without having to prove your value proposition, but that comes at some significant cost. If I were a VC I'd probably want to invest to build something and then release it for pay up front--that saves the cost of implementing the bait-and-switch strategy.
> Ultimately, and unfortunately, I don't think there's an easy answer to monetization anywhere...
The answer is "provide value that people are willing to pay for", but I agree that's not an easy answer. :)
I think that's an unfair comparison for two reasons:
(1) People were already comfortable with the idea of paying for cabs, cable, games, books/electronics in the old world. Whereas the current norm is _not_ to pay for social media services.
(2) A transportation service, game, streaming video service, e-retailer can deliver value to their first customer. A social network is only valuable if others are using it. If Spark / Twitter 2.0 launches tomorrow, even if they can provide a bunch of product improvements over Twitter 1.0, the first users have no reason to pay b/c they're joining an empty / worthless conversation, so at launch it's almost necessary to allow people to join for free. And this creates the norms described in (1).
Of course; this is because cabs, cable, games, books/electronics all provide value. Most social media services don't, at least not enough value for people to pull out their credit cards.
> (2) A transportation service, game, streaming video service, e-retailer can deliver value to their first customer. A social network is only valuable if others are using it. If Spark / Twitter 2.0 launches tomorrow, even if they can provide a bunch of product improvements over Twitter 1.0, the first users have no reason to pay b/c they're joining an empty / worthless conversation, so at launch it's almost necessary to allow people to join for free. And this creates the norms described in (1).
I disagree, I think the norms described in (1) exist because Twitter/Spark provide very little value to their users.
You're describing a first-to-market advantage, but that's not really relevant. If that were a signifiant deciding factor, Twitter could simply institute a subscription fee and be profitable by tomorrow. But they can't: if they did that, they'd lose all their users overnight.
That's exactly what Google and Facebook did.
All I can take from your comment is "if hypothetical scenario then my opinion is true"
Would you pay to read Twitter? Do you think that anyone would?
I wouldn't have paid for Google in 2000 when I first discovered it; while it was better than all the other search engines out there, it wasn't better enough that I'd break my rule of never shelling out money to visit a website. I certainly wouldn't have paid money for Facebook; I was a poor college student when I got my FB account in 2004, and all you could do was poke people. I can poke people in real life without shelling out money for it.
I think many people confuse the value they get for a service now, after it has had a decade to refine its product and become deeply embedded in our lives, with the value they get from a service at launch, which is often virtually nothing.
I guess that leaves room for Twitter to develop into a product people would pay for, but I'm skeptical that can happen without very significant changes to their product, to the point that I'd be hesitant to call it the same product.
The distinction I'm making here is that I don't think anyone will ever succeed over the long term in Twitter's product space, because they don't have a product people would pay for. A competitor might knock them out for a little while, but no competitor will have lasting success unless they figure out a way to modify Twitter's product into a product people would pay for. And at it's core, Twitter's product is kind of worthless, so I don't think there's a modification that would make it worthwhile.
Curious, what would be more scalable than Twitter's existing JVM based architecture? 3 years ago they were able to handle upwards of 140 (edit) thousand tweets per second without any latency -- that's pretty ridiculous.
If I were implementing Twitter today, I'd probably do Elixir and Cassandra. I don't generally leap to go NoSQL but Twitter's structure is particularly suited to Cassandra. Elixir gives the ease of development I associate with Ruby with the scalable, decentralizable BEAM. I'd also consider going with Erlang straight up--it may not be as pretty as Elixir, but there's a lot to be said for maturity in a language.
But I'm saying this because I have the benefit of newer technologies and having seen Twitter's mistakes. From a technical perspective, I think Twitter is pretty well done.
What's missing is that other platforms, like Facebook, took a very hard stance on this and forced people to signup as their real identities.
Twitter, can easily follow suit. That won't fix all of the problems, but it will go towards improving things and it won't require massive product updates and changes to the UX.
Given that their MAU growth numbers are low, and no longer the number that they want the public market to focus on, actually instating this now wouldn't even be that damaging from a reporting perspective, and if they bled out a few users that weren't really contributing it could go a long way to improving things.
Technically there is a privacy setting that twitter doesn't play up that can be used for people that want to use twitter as a consumption platform and limit the interactivity from other people.
Twitter is still fundamentally different and more open than facebook and with requesting non-anonymous users they can still keep that open platform and potentially clean up some of the outlier conversations that seem to be a focus for so many people of what's wrong with twitter.
Facebook is /proof/ that the Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory doesn't need anonymity. What the Internet proves about communication is that fuckwaddery (yes, this is a word, my word) is inversely proportional to interface friction. The quicker it is to spill the contents of your mind without the filtration enabled by interface difficulty, the more crap you can put out. Since 90 percent of everything is crap, [Sturgeon] even what you are thinking 90 percent of the time is crap and you're lucky if you manage to only commit the remaining 10 percent without contaminating it with the rest. Interface difficulty enforces thinking about what you commit to discussion. Which is why pen-and-ink letter writing "is an art" and the twitterverse is a cesspool - real names or not.
This is not to say that if everything went back to pen-and-paper that there would be no fuckwads. There would simply be fewer of them.
Lastly, I never used my real name on Facebook or other social media. Why should I give up what I have every right to do in real life just because it's electronic? People don't care whether I'm using my real name or alias as long as they know who they're talking to.
BMO's Revised Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory
(Normal person + communication medium) / interface friction = fuckwad
And when friction=0, you have a black hole of fuckwaddery. You usually get this when you use alcohol as a lubricant.
That might be why Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, etc are so screwed up. Because the userbase knows that there's a very slim chance they'll ever meet the person they're attacking online. That there's a slim chance there'll ever be any genuine consequences for their actions.
Of course, making it easier and more convenient like on the sites (or limiting people to only 140 characters) definitely makes it easier to be a douche. But you're not going to send a threatening SMS message to someone sitting next to you.
To a slightly lesser extent, Slashdot has also licked that problem: for any story that attracts enough comments (more than 300) the top rated ones are often pretty good and the worthless ones start auto-collapsed. Even though Slashdot gets a lot of jip these days, some of it deserved, I've still spent many enjoyable hours reading some of the top rated comments there. Especially nice is the fact that upvotes must have an adjective attached, which gently nudges users into certain kinds of behaviour. For instance it's the only site I've encountered where people often post extremely funny comments despite the serious topics. The moderation system there encourages that sort of behaviour.
We had ways of dealing with this on Usenet back in the day. 1) Thick skin, and 2) killfiles. Generally, killfiles weren't for people with whom you disagreed (though they could be, if you wanted), they were for people who were assholes.
What I mean is this: I agree with Jack's vision of Twitter being a "window to the world", a place where you can instantly get a sense of what your compatriots are thinking and how they are reacting to news. They have two features which accomplish this pretty well: hashtags and live video. When crazy things are happening Twitter is one of the best ways to "live" the event through those two features. Jack appears to have taken this to heart and recently said that Twitter's future will heavily involve breaking news. This also addresses one of the big complaints in this post - you can't have a thoughtful debate in 140 characters. But you can react! And you can absorb little pieces of information and media.
Unfortunately for Twitter, Facebook has also seen the writing and the wall and has built superior versions of hashtags and live video directly into their experience. I have seen a noticeable improvement in the specificity and granularity of their trending topics lately and we've all seen over the past couple weeks how effective and raw (maybe too raw) their live video is.
So I don't think Twitter is fucked - I think their future still, after all these laggard years, has a lot of potential. The problem is they have to stare down an 800,000 pound blue and white gorilla to win.
Speech can be hateful, harmful, hurtful, etc., but it is not violent. Speech can incite violence, but it is still not actually violence.
We see this all of the time when people want to resort to hyperbole -- "misgendering a trans person is violence!"
It doesn't further your case, it's just using a cheap rhetorical trick.
Yes speech is not the same thing as actively hitting someone or throwing someone out of a club. But At the same time there are classes of speech which cause direct harm.
To be pedantic about it, words can cause physical pain, fear, stress and anxiety. So words have been demonstrated to cause physical harm.
In short: your erecting a false dichotomy/comparison. There is violent speech, and yes it's not the same as physical violence. It's not considered to be.
Additionally, I think your short sentence encapsulates a particularly incorrect assessment of the modern world, and especially life "online".
Online Life is locution. An unusually large portion of ones persona lives in words exchanged online. All actions that occur which silence someone, elevate someone else, instruct, confuse, insult or praise do so through words. Speech is everything online.
Verbal and emotional abuse of children are serious issues, but they do NOT have to be violent for them to be horrible. The conflation of the two muddies the language that we have to describe the events that happen to us.
If someone says, my parents were very violent to me, what would you assume happened? Doesn't knowing that there was physical abuse help give context that helps you respond to the situation?
'Violent speech' and 'violent communication' are a form of violence. They have a nuanced definition. They can be used in multiple ways. Language is not strict. It is fluid, it changes over time, and in this case, totally applies to the subject. You are arguing for an unrealistic, unenforceable, overly-literal use of language.
As someone who's been on the receiving end of a large portion of 'violent communication', it's much easier, and significantly more validating to say 'emotional abuse' or 'hate speech'.
I don't understand what about asking violence to retain its definition is unrealistic. It's an important word with important implications.
(I did read the links -- that's how I pulled an example out of them. You really are a fan of rhetorical pot shots!)
But going back to your main assertion here, you say that the word 'violence' has a particular definition, and the use of this phrase does not retain it, and that it thus harms people's interpretation of the word and its meaning. Let's see if that's true.
The American Psychological Association defines it as this:
" Violence is an extreme form of aggression, such as assault, rape or murder. Violence has many causes, including frustration, exposure to 𝘃𝗶𝗼𝗹𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝗺𝗲𝗱𝗶𝗮, violence in the home or neighborhood and a tendency to 𝘀𝗲𝗲 𝗼𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝗽𝗲𝗼𝗽𝗹𝗲'𝘀 𝗮𝗰𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀 𝗮𝘀 𝗵𝗼𝘀𝘁𝗶𝗹𝗲 𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗻 𝘄𝗵𝗲𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝘆'𝗿𝗲 𝗻𝗼𝘁. Certain situations also increase the risk of aggression, such as drinking, insults and other provocations and environmental factors like heat and overcrowding."
The Oxford dictionary has this definition:
"violence. Pronunciation: /ˈvī(ə)ləns/. noun. 1) Behavior involving physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone or something. 1.1) 𝗦𝘁𝗿𝗲𝗻𝗴𝘁𝗵 𝗼𝗳 𝗲𝗺𝗼𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗼𝗿 𝗮𝗻 𝘂𝗻𝗽𝗹𝗲𝗮𝘀𝗮𝗻𝘁 𝗼𝗿 𝗱𝗲𝘀𝘁𝗿𝘂𝗰𝘁𝗶𝘃𝗲 𝗻𝗮𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗮𝗹 𝗳𝗼𝗿𝗰𝗲: 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘃𝗶𝗼𝗹𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗲 𝗼𝗳 𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝗼𝘄𝗻 𝗳𝗲𝗲𝗹𝗶𝗻𝗴𝘀. 1.2) Law The unlawful exercise of physical force or intimidation by the exhibition of such force. To do violence to. Damage or adversely affect. Origin: Middle English: via Old French from Latin violentia, from violent- 'vehement, violent' (see violent)."
Wikipedia has this to say:
"Violence is defined by the World Health Organization as "the intentional use of physical force 𝗼𝗿 𝗽𝗼𝘄𝗲𝗿, 𝘁𝗵𝗿𝗲𝗮𝘁𝗲𝗻𝗲𝗱 or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community, which either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, 𝗽𝘀𝘆𝗰𝗵𝗼𝗹𝗼𝗴𝗶𝗰𝗮𝗹 𝗵𝗮𝗿𝗺, maldevelopment, or deprivation", although the group acknowledges that the inclusion of "the use of power" in its definition expands on the conventional meaning of the word. This definition involves intentionality with the committing of the act itself, 𝗶𝗿𝗿𝗲𝘀𝗽𝗲𝗰𝘁𝗶𝘃𝗲 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗼𝘂𝘁𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗲 𝗶𝘁 𝗽𝗿𝗼𝗱𝘂𝗰𝗲𝘀. However, generally, 𝗮𝗻𝘆𝘁𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗶𝘀 𝗲𝘅𝗰𝗶𝘁𝗲𝗱 𝗶𝗻 𝗮𝗻 𝗶𝗻𝗷𝘂𝗿𝗶𝗼𝘂𝘀 𝗼𝗿 𝗱𝗮𝗺𝗮𝗴𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘄𝗮𝘆 𝗺𝗮𝘆 𝗯𝗲 𝗱𝗲𝘀𝗰𝗿𝗶𝗯𝗲𝗱 𝗮𝘀 𝘃𝗶𝗼𝗹𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗻 𝗶𝗳 𝗻𝗼𝘁 𝗺𝗲𝗮𝗻𝘁 𝘁𝗼 𝗯𝗲 𝘃𝗶𝗼𝗹𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗲 (by a person and against a person)."
Also note that Wikipedia (and many other sources) define the types of violence as self-directed, interpersonal, and collective, spanning acts such as physical, sexual, verbal, psychological, and emotional. (Other sources include expanded or additional categories)
You'll note that in many definitions, the term encompasses several iterations on the theme, such as assault and non-physical harm. (As a fellow linguist, i'm sure you're aware that the definitions of the word "assault" in both a legal and non-legal context includes non-physical harm) According to multiple sources, the definition of the word flies in the face of your more strict interpretation.
But you also mention catch-all word-phrases for things like this - like 'violent communication'! You can also notice that since the word 'violent' is in the phrase - and since it is the root word of 'violence' - and since their mutual definitions span the same subjects and imply the same cause and effect - that it isn't a perversion of the original word's meaning at all, but merely elucidates a particular category of thing the root word wouldn't have directly described as well.
Now, let's finally address your love of the word 'rhetorical'. The word 'rhetorical', in a general definition, is to form a question in order to make a point rather than elicit an answer.
Taking into account the rest of my argument & evidence on the original subject, don't you think it might be more useful to use language to point out a flaw in logic, rather than trying to break down someone's argument with ad-hominem attacks?
>>" Violence is an extreme form of aggression, such as assault, rape or murder. Violence has many causes, including frustration, exposure to 𝘃𝗶𝗼𝗹𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝗺𝗲𝗱𝗶𝗮, violence in the home or neighborhood and a tendency to 𝘀𝗲𝗲 𝗼𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝗽𝗲𝗼𝗽𝗹𝗲'𝘀 𝗮𝗰𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀 𝗮𝘀 𝗵𝗼𝘀𝘁𝗶𝗹𝗲 𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗻 𝘄𝗵𝗲𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝘆'𝗿𝗲 𝗻𝗼𝘁. Certain situations also increase the risk of aggression, such as drinking, insults and other provocations and environmental factors like heat and overcrowding."
Notice the APA's definitions includes assault, rape, and murder, and your bolded text specifically refers to the root causes of violence. The exposure to violent media predisposes people to violence, the perception of other people's actions as hostile even when they're not causes a misunderstanding that leads to violence.
1.1) from the Oxford definition is a testament to how strongly people react to violence.
The Wikipedia article is a far more compelling argument for your case, but the WHO has political interests that colors their definition of the word. Was the FDA promoting trans fats violent? It certainly is an action that was taken from a position of power which caused harm. The FDA actually might be one of the more violent domestic US institutions under this definition. Are all parents violent? Doing some harm to your child's mental health or well being is going to happen in 18 years of making decisions.
Clearly there is a difference in significance between the 'violence' of a parent who teases their child a few times and a parent who is beating their child.
We have an obvious colloquial use of the word violence that supercedes using violent as an adjective in this way. If we're going to talk about linguistic drift, this is a very poor example. Rather, this appears to be a small number of people who are attempting to expand the definition of violent. This definition has only been adopted by a few special interests groups who have a vested interest in changing how the larger population communicates. One method that they are using to do this is using rhetorical tricks, like labeling everyone who does not agree with them as violent, by using overly loose definitions like the WHO example above.
 When an argument is nearly entirely about the way that we use rhetoric, I'll use the word rhetorical. That's the nice thing about words, when they have strong definitions, they're highly applicable to situations. You can use them and everyone will know what you're talking about!
FYI, those bold unicode letters don't render in firefox on my mac, making a large portion of your comment unreadable.
: People are great at communicating meaning non-literally (see: definition of literally) and one of the ways that manifests itself is through slang, which is going to break anything but a so-close-it-might-as-well-be-AI system. If you ban a word or phrase, it's meaning will be communicated through another word or phrase. The insulting adversary has an advantage here, as they can use other real words and phrases that would otherwise be innocuous to insult you, it would be especially advantageous to use popular/common words/phrases as replacements (see: euphemisms).
It's certainly possible to train a system in hindsight, but I highly doubt you could do so in real-time and any delay in reacting to new slang means that's when antagonists will strike. Hell, you could even do asynchronously defined insults, send many messages containing various words phrases and then announce, shortly after their delivery, what they mean (heh...).
Twitter 2.0 could do something as simple as forego the linear timeline (and the restrictions that that imposes re: filtering) and still achieve all the goals the author outlined.
I also think John De Goes doesn't mention the elephant in the room with which he got burned, the last LandaConf along their policy and handling of the created situation. And far from me to judge that situation in this comment, but I find his judgment compromised, to say the least, if not disingenuous.
As for some of his claims, I'm actually glad that Twitter doesn't filter my content. I DO NOT want any more filter bubbles. I actually want the people I respect to show me their religion and political beliefs. In fact I want disagreeing opinions, even if painful, because that's how I learn. I'm a tolerant kind of guy and I want to see the world for what it is. And if I can't tolerate somebody, then I'm not interested about his work or jokes either.
Freedom of speech doesn't include invading someone's privacy (this is illegal; doxxing, stalking etc. should be banned and actively fought against). But if you can't handle insults, it is not anyone's job to prevent them. There's always "Block" button, and then, there's always "delete account" button.
"Crybullies." And I literally thought this could not get any sillier a thing.
I don't care for Twitter particularly, but it's a thing that exists, and it's not likely to go away any time soon. And I don't care for shitposter brigades at all. As the current brouhaha demonstrates, manual intervention in high-profile cases is no solution at all. Twitter's engineering team is easily capable of an automated solution; all they need is for their management to turn them loose on the problem. I'm not sure why that hasn't yet happened. Of course it's impossible for any automated solution to make everyone happy - but what we're looking at right now is a response that has made everyone unhappy. Twitter can do better. I hope they take this incident as sufficient reason to do so.
But I'm not even sure that's possible, and even if it is, it'll take a long time to build - and in the meantime, a system like the one I sketched in my prior comment, augmented with an ability to communicate "hey something looks to be going on here" to human moderators when necessary, seems like a reasonable stepping stone.
It's rare that I get involved in drama on Twitter, but thanks to notification settings, I've found it pretty easy to filter out the negative people.
What other button we need to invent? "Activate our hordes of ML algorithms to make sure that all replies you receive are about kittens or pink ponies"? Can be done, but we already have Facebook for that.
For me, all this drama looks like an orchestrated attack on Twitter.
But, then. "Crybullies." Res ipsa loquitur.
And yes, crybullies. People like Melissa Click. I don't know why you are so enraged by this word, quite accurately describing them.
That's not going to exist in any medium that is controlled by a single organization, whether that's a government, nonprofit, or corporation.
If one person (or a small group of people) can pull the plug, eventually it will get pulled.
For example, I have never used the expression "crybullies," and if I did, it would probably be to describe the kind of white male who gets on a place like HN and cries that his freedom to be a raging asshole in somebody else's privately owned medium is being trampled by moderation.
But back to your point, I will argue with it in good faith. You say:
> There's always "Block" button, and then, there's always "delete account" button.
Well here's the thing. What is it doesn't work like that in practice? What if the "block" button is not an effective mechanism for using Twitter positively? What if Milo blocks me, but thousands of my followers insult Milo, overwhelming his ability to block them all?
It's more than just his feelings, if his entire experience is flooded with my army of trolls, he simply can't keep up with the tools in place.
And the kicker is this: People know this, so they "game the system" by flooding your mentions with so many new and different accounts that you simply can't block them all. Overwhelmed by a DDOS, you delete your account.
IF there were effective tools for ignoring insults and floods, I would agree with you that you have options, and if you delete your account that is entirely your personal choice. But in the current design, Twitter provides a grossly imbalanced power dynamic between those who wish to abuse other users, and those who wish to use the system without abusing other users.
Where does this imbalance lead us? To social network where only trolls remain standing. That is not in Twitter's best interests, nor does it have long-term survivability even if they thought it was. This dynamic has been repeated many, many times, and so far it has always worked out the exact same way; When the trolls arrive, you either moderate actively, or your social network dies.
Now, you say:
> if you can't handle insults, it is not anyone's job to prevent them
Furthermore, it has nothing to do with whether any one person or group of people can handle insults or not. Hacker News simply does not wish to cultivate an insult-heavy tone, period. So it has guidelines, and it enforces the guidelines, and people like you and I decide that the benefits of a moderated conversation outweigh the freedom to unleash our raging id.
Should Twitter be less like voat and more like facebook? That is a question of opinion. But it is not necessarily true that it's not anybody's job to police the the of a social network, and it is certainly not even remotely true that there is always the block button, because the consequence of Twitter's current design choices creates an asymmetry between abusers and the abused.
Of course, just like you do and everybody else is doing. Therefore, my opinion is just my opinion, and if somebody insults me, it is their opinion, and I am not obliged to react to it in any way. I might, if it would be someone I know and respect, but an anonymous account created two weeks ago just to post a random insult in my direction? I'd be flattered I am _that_ important for somebody.
And as you have just said, Twitter is a private company. They can serve needs of people like you or people like me (and I do not engage in insults, this is immature — but I do value freedom of speech and its total independence from the current PC handbook du jour). The question is what is more profitable and what is more aligned with founder's values.
This is an unnecessary escalation into racial/gendered personal attack.
Care to explain the ethical viewpoint that's led you to this conclusion?
The problem isn't "insults" and the solution isn't "handling them". The problem is social dynamics that create disrespect and dehumanization towards certain people. The dynamics and their consequences are real regardless of how the victims "handle" them.
Hard to make it past this part. Not sure what definition of violence you're using.
Twitter's core problem is that its product's design encourages users to behave badly. Mechanisms are baked deeply into it that make it very difficult for its users to come across as anything other than jerks. Even those with the best of intentions fall afoul of these mechanisms by accident periodically, sometimes with serious real-world consequences like loss of a job or important personal relationships. Users with bad intentions, meanwhile, are enabled and rewarded by other mechanisms.
Twitter is a Perfect Storm of bad discussion software design.
It's not just the size of tweets, though that does exacerbate things. The entire attention economy of online social media rewards viral attention, and therefore it rewards outrage politics. (Politics in the general sense of Homo sapiens following its social mammal instincts.)
Oh yes, it does! There's a ton of historical, economic, and game theoretic work that indicates this matters. A lot!
You want people to behave? Teach real civics in the schools.
That only provides the information, not the incentive. If you want people to behave, give them a stake in society.
2. Strength of emotion or of a destructive natural force