Newbie: "Remember the time when 4chan was good?"
Veteran: "4chan was never good."
"4chan" can be easily replaced with "Twitter" or "The Internet" here.
2. There's a universal tendency for people to reminisce fondly about the good old days and contrast them with the ostensibly bad present. It has nothing to do with the truth. It is simply a syndrome of getting old. People were doing it 3000 years ago.
I'm afraid that whilst there's some truth in what you've said, I think you're far wide of the mark here.
It's not about getting old. It's about the fact that, and I wouldn't pretend to understand the mechanics here, for whatever reason when too many people get involved in something it changes. It might get better, or it might get worse, or it might get better and then get worse, or whatever.
In this case I think the point that twitter, or whatever, somehow gets "spoiled" is perhaps valid. I would argue I've seen a similar thing with facebook. It used to be people posting updates about themselves and was a good way to keep up with people; now it's largely people sharing pre-created content - 10th rate jokes and memes, political petitions, news - real or otherwise - from a parasitic ecosystem of sites predicated upon social sharing.
That spoiling can manifest itself in a variety of ways, and can take either a short or a long time to happen. The point is that a large influx of newcomers into an existing community, business, special interest group, or whatever, can radically alter the dynamics of that group in a way that is unpredictable, and sometimes not good.
And I apologise for the slightly rambling nature of this comment - haven't had time to edit it into shape.
Nothing to do with the truth? Maybe in your cases, but in others it very much does. In the good ol' days Democrats and Republicans weren't as hostile and unwilling to work together as they are now. In the good ol' days it used to snow way more in some places than it does now. In the good ol' days many places were less polluted than they are now. In the good ol' days people had to learn to actually ask each other out instead of swiping right on their phones. In the good ol' days businesses had longer-lasting relationships with their employees and didn't view them as disposable goods. Yeah, totally nothing to do with the truth, just people imagining things.
LA is way less polluted than it used to be. People used to go to speed dating events where they have a pool of maybe 15 people who might be compatible. Democrats and Republicans both used to be racist and sexist. The weather in New England is much more pleasant in winter than it used to be. These days it isn't a black mark against your name if you've changed jobs 3 times because you wanted to try something new.
All about perspective. If you want to reminisce, go ahead, but there are two sides to the coin.
(b) My point was not that the good ol' days were paradise and we're all rotting in hell now. My point was that old people are not necessarily making $h!1 up in drawing comparisons with the good ol' days, in contrast with what the parent said. I thought this was obvious but evidently not.
If things are distributed between bad and good, it doesn't matter how that distribution changes over time if the bad things from the past are forgotten in the comparison. It is still dishonest.
Remembering the good vs the bad probably aligns with someone being naturally upbeat or sad (glass full vs half-full personality).
Also I'm skeptical of that Democrats and Repubs line. In the good old days they got into fist fights on the congress floor.
As for the last part, it's hard to tell if you're referring to the 1800s or the 1900s as the "good old days" where Congressmen got into fist fights, but anyway, some digestible material: http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/06/12/polarized-po...
The "4chan parable" is saying that though.
I was addressing part (2) of that comment.
This is the kind of thing the GP is talking about, and you've fallen into the trap. The rise of OH&S is a clear counterpoint to your statement here. For example, about a hundred people died during the building of the Hoover Dam. Such a death rate would be unthinkable in the modern era.
> In the good ol' days people had to learn to actually ask each other out instead of swiping right on their phones.
And if you were gay or even asexual, you had to pretend that you weren't or you'd be ostracised. Even to the point of marrying someone straight and making both of you miserable. And if you were pregnant, you were expected to hide yourself from public view, because being visible pregnant used to be distasteful.
> In the good ol' days many places were less polluted than they are now.
Good old weasel word 'many'. Many places are less polluted now than they were then.
The point is that you're cherrypicking just the good stuff, which is exactly what the GP is talking about. Few people would actually be better off if you turned the clock back 40 years, especially women and minorities.
Twitter is like the planet. Dying. Slowly. But. Steadily.
Stephen is a big boy and can make big boy choices. I still don't get the infatuation with the social media, unless your livelihood depends on it (e.g. marketing your products/services, or plain and simple you ARE facebook or twitter or ... that make money out of these products)(products = people).
In both cases, a lot of it has to do with increased censorship. A large number of people left 4chan for 8chan after moot started engaging in fairly aggressive political censorship. Who knows what his motivation was - maybe an effort to appeal more to advertisers, maybe a change in beliefs about freedom of expression - either way, the effect was the same. There was a big exodus to other chan sites.
Twitter has a similar censorship problem; many of the twitter accounts I followed, which were mildly offensive but nothing compared to the worst of the site, were silently banned without justification. The only connection I can find between them is that they were political in a way Twitter didn't like. Unfortunately, twitter is too big for there to be an effective exodus, so the whole internet is just worse off.
Not all nostalgia is misplaced. The internet is unquestionably changing, and the trend seems to be that as a system becomes more popular, it becomes more hostile to viewpoints too far from its median. Reddit, twitter, Facebook, etc. have all been extremely ban-happy in recent years, moreso than ever before.
That's not a current trend, that's just statistics. The larger the sample is, the closer it's median is to the median of the whole set of data. It was always this way.
However, people can still build their own smaller on-line communities. With sites like Reddit, it's easier than even. You have r/TumblrInAction, r/ShitRedditSays, and everything in between.
I think there is more than just this: any community/social network that grows from thousands to millions of users has to make changes in order to scale (for example, changes in the moderation).
Whatever they are, these changes are likely to be a disappointment for the oldest users who join the community for what it was in the first place.
Another plausible explanation is that, as these communities become more popular, the goal of the companies supporting them often shifts from the original goal of creating a nice and attractive community, to a new more ambiguous goal of keeping the growth high while generating profit (thus adding ads, tracking etc.)
Often there's more to it: early adopters of anything tend to be of a different temperament than the people who come after.
Twitter could clean itself if they weren't so afraid of the wannabe Nazi crews + follower bots, and the effects cleaning up would have on their already bad-looking user metrics.
Here's an interesting essay about this effect:
“I'm 65 years old. Everyday the future looks a little bit darker. But the past, even the grimy parts of it, well, it just keeps on getting brighter all the time.”
― Alan Moore, Watchmen
> There isn't.
Cool, I'm sure you managed to convince him now.
There's a tipping point, and I guess Twitter has gone over it.
And to those claiming that this author is making concrete points about twitter, I would add the observation of an outsider who never understood the draw of twitter that it was always overwhelmingly a) cynical sarcasm that can be easily encapsulated in few characters, b) public disagreement. The medium itself favored caustic commentary. The purpose of Twitter has always been negative and pandering to the choir.
Halcyon Days: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/halcyon_days
Days of Yore: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/days_of_yore
I've been in a lot of "discussion things" over the years and i've seen them go bad. As they become more well known the worse they get. Initially somewhat-like-minded people are drawn to something for somewhat-similar reasons. When things become popular the noise from people of all walks of life drowns out the signal of like mindedness. In the case of twitter some of the noise Actively tries to ruin the signal.
The initial users of tv, radio and even cars must have felt a similar despair (after the initial thrill of their interest becoming used by more people).
It's not nostalgia, things were better "back then" where "back then" is a point between gaining users and acceptance by the general population.
Yes it got more civilized in the last years, but while not being offensive it's still filled with one sided views of the world by <1% of its population.
For example, it used to be that an article about hiring was about the business side; how to remunerate, how to obtain the best-bang-for-your-buck. These days it's about the employee side; how scummy employers are, how they're all clueless about interview process, how to job-hop, even a little bragging about salaries.
Gone are the days of articles about A/B testing, and here are the days where there's usually a few NYTimes articles on the front page.
> maybe requiring civility at all times is the only way to have a meaningful discussion.
In larger forums, yes, but not in smaller forums.
But also the tight moderation.
Maybe this is a sad lesson. I would prefer if a completely unmoderated discussion could remain civil and constructive at all times, but there's probably a reason why even panel discussions with only a handful of people need a good moderator.
Once the community expands, it loses some of its initial intimacy and collective mindset. Perhaps we should invent social networks that keep people in little collectives of positive feedback, rather than subjecting ourselves to the negativity of warring fiefdoms.
An Alex Jones or Trump type character believe whatever they want but systems that prop them up and give them more influence than they deserve, while hiding behind terms like equality and freedom of speech are just producing an inversion of the caste system.
I've seen any number of fora over the ages, and the debasement problem is a significant one. It's not limited to online, as the saga of The American Mercury illustrates:
My preference, increasingly, is to be acutely aware of the limits of my own time and attention, to block fuckwits with abandon, and to treasure both the individuals and fora which actually do deliver quality.
On which, a thank you to HN's mods, dang and scbt, both of whom put in a hell of a lot of work, much of it gentle, and for which HN is decidedly one of the better, and longer-lived, discussion platforms on today's Internet.
(Metafilter also seems particularly resilient.)
That's been the majority of comments / forums since at least 2001. It also sounds a whole lot like the modern "tabloid" news.
Once the site/forum reaches a certain level of influence they show up, and to the casual viewer it appears as added noise.
I'm one of the lucky 50K people he still follows (he used to follow everyone who followed him, in the very early days of Twitter, but that quickly stopped), but when you have 12 million followers, I imagine your use of Twitter is somewhat different to most peoples.
I still like Twitter. Compared to other online forums, it still has the most thoughtful discourse I know of (except for HN). Even if it means tolerating a bunch of unpleasant garbage along the way.
It's far easier to be snarky and mean in 140 characters than it is to be rational and respectful.
Or would they just shit-talk with more words?
To be fair to Twitter that wasn't a philosophical decision - 140 chars was what fit into the 160-char SMS protocol limit, with the remainder given over to their own layer.
char* msg = malloc(141);
The technical exchange is fine, but it's more of a dump of experiences and while it's worthwhile at that, it rarely goes into discussion territory, more like throwing opinions to the other side
I would have said the exact opposite. As long as they're well supported, HN is more accepting of controversial views than anywhere else I know.
When you say nasty things about Brad Pitt among friends, it stays there. When you say it to your friends on Twitter, it can go viral and be read both by Brad, and people who, unlike your friends, don't get your humor.
With over 300mln active users if something has been retweeted, say, 15,000 times it still can't be reasonably counted as a "storm".
So there is this effect where a small group of activists (20-30) can easily coordinate to launch a 100 tweets. They then reach out to online media outlets, which in turn report that a topic is trending, so it is officially 'news', and thus the cycle begins.
In particular, journalists are disproportionally over-represented on twitter and thus seem to (somewhat self-importantly) overvalue it as a discussion medium. At least where I am from, it is almost exclusively activists, journalists and politicians in their own Twitter bubble talking to each other and reporting about what they say about each other.
So as they believe in its importance, it becomes important, and thus opens avenues to manipulation by pr agencies or state actors or political splintergroups.
If you are not familiar but interested in learning more. This book is a good primer: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0074VTHH0/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?...
A spike of retweets from 0,05% of the users is hardly a spike. If so, you would have to call every link to a funny cat gif on twitter a "Twitter Storm".
Which means their active user count may be 300m, but they reach far wider audience than that through citations through all kinds of other media, either through indirect mentions or through direct embeds.
Of course, the fact that they're not monetizing their influence effectively is another story, but just counting their user number to say they have smaller influence is just being naive.
You don't need something to go VIRAL! to be blown out of proportion...
In the same way, I see this phenomenon all over our world. I don't know if it's because of 24-hr news cycle, Twitter/Facebook or whatever, but we see the radical, loud minority dictate the agenda. So even Fry says that it's only a small percentage of trolls that are ruining it for him, but it's enough to drive him off Twitter, despite all of his fans that want him on Twitter.
In other words, the signal-to-noise ratio is very low, but people are now taking the noise as signal and reacting to it. It's not a good thing when trolls and radicals dictate the agenda for the silent, moderate majority. All the noise from the media and anti-Trump haters is a good example of where people who listen too closely to the noise end up missing the signal where it matters, and don't react properly. I think if the Democrats really know how Middle America was feeling, they would have conducted a much different campaign, but they listened to the wrong things.
He is essentially invoking the "snowflake" meme. And, in what might perhaps be called an instance of the Law of Snowflakes, it's in a context where he is whining about discourse not taking the tone he prefers.
(If it seems weird that I'm ignoring 80% of the parent poster's content in his comment, it is because its initial iteration of that comment only contained the first two sentences.)
In any case, it's not a medium for discussion, and it seems designed to provide as little context as possible, so it's easy to take things out of context.
First if you search for it and go to the first page it talks about open source (no average user knows what that is; some have vague ideas but in my experience none of them know what it is beyond the very rare person who heard a report on TV and thinks it's "nerds doing something for free"). Then it talks about "blah blah blah social should be decentralized blah blah blah you cannot sign up here because we believe in decentralization!" (paraphrased, of course)
Now the user, the average user who very likely doesn't understand why this pure decentralized thing is better than Facebook or Twitter since he or she can go to one one place, sign up and immediately start posting, has to somehow find somewhere else to sign up because of some purity stance?
Look I'm all for decentralizing things. But it's never, ever going to see the growth of average users having this much friction. When you want to take growth away from highly popular incumbents you need a way to have less friction than them (at least usually, in my experience). Decentralizing, at least in this form, adds an order of magnitude more friction.
Regardless, even being accessible by only people who know what's going on still doesn't guarantee success. There is still significant friction there. I know HN decentralized everything is pretty popular but when it comes to UX I've never seen it test well because I haven't seen a good enough UX to just about any decentralization of a normally centralized service that also lowers friction of use.
Problem is, if you want to advertise ideas (such as: "Democrats are good!") and influence public opinion, is Mastodon a good place?
Anonymity is important but it also allows pointless discussions and arguments between let's say a child or someone not interested or versed in a subject and an expert.
The value of discussion remain low and people behave in ways they simply wouldn't face to face. In the real world these kind of discussions would be a pointless waste of time for all involved and would simply not happen.
You could try to change this by taking away the anonymity or extremely strong moderation but as we have seen with Facebook and even here the lack of anonymity doesn't stop snarky or bad behavior and there are far too many people who by default assume a tone of authority when they don't really know what they are talking about.
But it's enough to share links, hence it replaced / is replacing RSS, trolling, and pingbacks. http://www.businessinsider.com/twitter-killed-rss-and-thats-...
A lot of people break that rule by posting images with walls of text.
>I love Stephen Fry, really I do, but this oft-repeated quote is bullshit and he is perfectly demonstrating why that is. What he’s really saying is this: everyone else’s feelings don’t matter, but his do, because he frames them as universal rules of discourse rather than feelings.
>Look at his post again — that’s exactly how he words his point of view. “Too many people have peed in the pool.” “Now the pool is stagnant, …frothy with scum.” Fry’s feelings aren’t feelings — they are a universal and objective standard of behavior, which everyone else is violating. All those angry people, yelling that Fry has violated a universal and objective standard of behavior? Ah, they’re just perpetually offended, you see. Totally different.
The author has seen the average Twitter/Reddit/forum comments, I presume. Do they look anything like what Fry (or any talented writer for that matter) posts?
So, yeah, Fry is right, what he complains is people actually breaking "universal rules of discourse".
Talented writers are good at making people hate you. They excel at stating that you are just offended snowflake or whatever after they misrepresented what you said and intentionally made the the dogpile bigger.
Not saying Fry is regressive -- I honestly don't know his views -- just saying that the "rules of discourse" are not about how well you write, aesthetically.
>I’m also not saying that what happened to Stephen Fry is okay. I’ve grumbled before about the dogpile effect on Twitter, and now I’m going to do it again.
>Fry told a joke — outside of Twitter, even. Some people found it tasteless, and told him as much. Multiply by tens, hundreds, maybe thousands. No single person would think they’re doing anything outlandish, but in aggregate, they become a massive impromptu mob.
>This is a glaring problem with Twitter, and a worse problem with Tumblr. And there aren’t many tools for dealing with it. You have only a handful of options here, and they all boil down to: slog through it or retreat entirely.
Sometimes I wish these relativists would all just go live on an island somewhere together, endlessly policing themselves until they start to "get" what is so intellectually bankrupt about their whole paradigm.
Well, I will say that. His offense is worth more than theirs. It is possible to say objective things about the way that people are arguing.
As an aside, I didn't suggest anybody go live on an island. That's a deliberately uncharitable reading on your part, I'd say. I'm using that phrase as a rhetorical device to express an idea. The idea is: I wish they could live in the world they're trying to create for a few days so they could live out, in real life, everything that is wrong with their picture of How Things Should Work. My point is that I don't think society could function very well if everybody was paralyzed by an infinite relativistic regress of social concern that "my polite" may not be "your polite". Nobody is literally being told to go live on an island to fuck off, as you seem to be suggesting.
A comment like this absolutely requires sources. OP might be correct, but without any attempt to justify or corroborate, this just smacks of trolling and is a perfect example of what is wrong with Twitter.