When you post to HN or elsewhere on the internet, you're broadcasting to a large crowd. Somebody somewhere is probably going to get triggered—that's just statistics. But when it's a public forum, those are the ones who show up to vent their spleen. So comment sections are weighted towards these sorts of reactions, not because they represent the community, but because it's a self-selecting, biased sample.
This leads to the community seeming a lot more negative than it is, which sucks. The only solution I know of is to give more attention to the other data you have: e.g. the upvotes, and any traffic to your site. That's a challenge, because we're hard-wired to take personal communication more seriously, and comments feel like personal communication (though really aren't).
Personally I think the conversation on this thread needs to stop thinking this product criminalizes content choice. If my interest is engineering blogs and most engineering blogs are written by men its ok for me to predominantly follow engineering blogs. What this product (to me) is there for is when I want to branch out I have an option for doing that in a powerful new way.
Finally (offtopic) I think we do need to have more civil conversations about virtue signaling. I don't think this product or announcement is virtue signaling. But virtue signaling IS a big problem in Silicon Valley, people shouting from the rooftops how they want to do good before quietly slinking back into a board room to do bad.
Good job OP, I'm not a hardcore twitter user but will definitely follow this projects development and wish it the best.
I think that people are taking issue with this though:
> Taking aside what people might think about diversity, we've seen that ideologies radicalize when we are only surrounded by like-minded people, usually from similar backgrounds
You've classified people based on gender and sexual orientation but that doesn't actually mean they have different backgrounds. 99% of my upper middle class friends have nearly identical opinions (very liberal for the record). It doesn't matter if they're men, women, lgbqt+... I suspect you'd get more actual diversity by looking for people (regardless of gender or sexual preference) who don't live on the coasts or in major cities.
To make this easier for the little guy I played with the thought of retweet incentivization. This could start as simple as http://peepmore.43z.one which I put together in an afternoon. Would be interested to hear what others think if this model.
Assuming that, I'll tell them to open their following list, unfollow some of the group they're already following a lot, and follow more from Twiverse and its categories, or if the category isn't there, follow intentionally themselves.
it'll balance it up. That's the route I went and now I have a relatively good mix. I can iterate again, and do that again, but this time using Twiverse.
One minor question, how much does becoming a patron affect rankings?
One suggestion if I might? I noticed some of the imagery didn't seem to immediately 'grok' with their topics. For example "Sports" shows a photo of a bicycle propped against a wall in what looks like someone's flat, while "Arts" shows a photo of a basketball court, "Animation" showed a photography studio and the "Comedy" topic has a group shot of business suit types (albeit in a 'silly' pose).
It was a little odd, definitely nothing that breaks the platform but it may help 'discovery' to make images a bit less...ambiguous given the topic they're related to? I think sports and my mind goes to team sports and not necessarily riding a bike to work (the image looks like an average commuter bicycle versus a racing bike) so maybe that's on me to make the mental adjustment when assuming the connectedness of topics.
Otherwise, neat idea and service!
That's a valid suggestion. I pulled the images from Unsplash (free to use), and needless to say, there's not really an endless assortment of pictures there, so I did with what I found, sadly. It is definitely something to improve upon, maybe I will get someone to do the photography for some of the topics, or alternatively go for a design. In reality I am not exactly fond of the execution of the categories - in the end they're sort of a filter, so I could have simply created a "super-page" where you could have those interests listed as filters, and could have found users sharing more than 1 category. On top of that, currently the platform has a fixed amount of categories, and it does not allow users to add themselves to any other interest, which is a bit limiting and unfortunate. Because of that, in the future I might redo this section entirely, which could help fix the issue you raised at the same time.
Thanks for the feedback!
Definitely nothing wrong with the approach you've taken though (and if nothing else, consider the above an idea if you do decide to rewrite that functionality) if it helped ship the product more quickly, like I said-it doesn't break functionality, just a passive observation that may help the user experience later down the line.
What are my future plans in this regard though? When the site gets past 1K users, I will start brainstorming and developing a new way for users to select their categories. Likely through a textbox vs multiple checkboxes, where people could type the areas they are into and they would autocomplete. I'd like to also let users suggest categories, eventually maybe even let them create their own interests. Could be exciting!
Correct me if I am wrong, but the only sanctioned different background seems to be "POC" (what does that even mean), "LGBTQ+" and "with disability".
The home page sports a "check 1.000 inspiring women" but not a "1.000 inspiring men". I guess only inspiring women are worth following.
But actually they don't even need to be inspiring, since they also have a "random women" section. I thought propping up some people based solely on their gender was sexist. I guess it's not when we do it for women.
Also, a fairly glaring omission in the topics seems to be religion. And I say it as a non believer. It looks like non-religious people won't be allowed to look for someone with a different background.
In the end, the site is yours, and you can of course list, or not list, whomever you please. But the claim of discovering people from "different backgrounds" seems to me disingenuous at best.
More accurate, given the current content, would be "a few, politically-sanctioned backgrounds".
Get it out there for people to try and give feedback on.
I appreciate the effort and thinking that has gone into a product like this.
Sure there are a whole bunch of features that I would love to see added but I'm sure that will come with time.
The fact that it targets PoC, LGBTQ+ and Women is a fantastic start. I remember an article that went around on HN a while back that analyzed the gender balance of twitter follows, and the results were not good.
Working on diversity in tech and on twitter and highlighting women over men is not sexist, it's pushing the needle back in a direction that it needs to go in.
Men are not default.
I understand it might feel biased with the current filters, but I could not have endless filters in the platform right on launch, considering the lack of users, so I thought of a few, implemented them, and reached out to as many people I knew with that criteria to try to have a userbase for each.
In terms of your concern in regards to men, truth is I made the category for women after receiving a suggestion from a partner of mine who wanted to have a page displaying women to feature in her newsletter, and I decided to implement it as a bit of an extra. See that I did not add any other category like that around, it was a lot of extra work and it did not feel worth it. Other than that, keep in mind you may search for any of the categories for only men by selecting said filter, so I don't think you are so right to call me out on the supposed wrongdoing.
Religion & political ideology were 2 filters I wanted to implement prior to launch but I did not fearing controversy, specially as a small & young maker trying to get a (good) reputation. Then again, I might implement those in the future, as the website grows. Thanks for the reminder.
Overall, I would say that your comment has a good basis, but you seem to have omitted the fact that the website's core concept is to find diverse users, as in minorities & underprivileged group, and men don't happen to be one of those groups. Nonetheless, if the random women section bothers too many people (I've received a few complaints sadly, in spite of the plenty of positive comments that many people have sent me in regards to it), I might get rid of it and replace it for something a little bit more customizable. I will see. Thank you for the insight.
You might have a point. But trying framing it as useful and constructive instead of bitter and confused.
Instead of showing who people are upfront, show their tweets without their identities attached, and let people follow based off of that. Anything else is just a diversity virtue signal.
There's a couple reasons as to why I believe that it makes sense in the platform. To begin with, the concept that started off this project 6 months ago was simply to make women more present in people's following lists. This was an entirely identity based project from that point, attempting to increase & amplify the voices of a particular group. Needless to say, with a concept set up & validated, I kept going in the same direction.
Secondly, while some of the filters of the platform are identity-based (ethnicity, gender, LGBTQ...) I also implemented multiple based on their background (low-income, migrants, language...) as well as based on their interests. I plan on expanding this group further, as I find it extremely valuable to better diversify our feeds. There is much more other than whether someone is a man or a woman, a person of colour, or a person with disabilities.
There is a third reason, one which I might not be too fond of, but thing is, in order to achieve diversity, people tend to prefer going about it through people, faces, and real identities. As a rather "private" and ambiguous person online, I've noticed how hard it has been for me to have recognition or validity, since all in all people can just judge me by my work and ideas. Had I gone this path with the platform, it would have likely failed, and I could have not contributed to solving this issue.
All in all, your idea is good in an ethical perspective, but when it comes to its implementation, it's absolutely useless, unless you change people's mindsets (very hard, specially because you also have to change some people's mindsets in terms of diversity already...). Then again I will see if I can implement something like this in the future, I think I might be able to figure something out. Thanks for your insight!
If a racist reads some amazing tweets they find interesting and later discovers they were written by members of races they don't like, that could change a mind.
If a diversity fanatic reads some great tweets and later discovers they were all from straight white males while the boring ones were from a very diverse group of individuals, that could change a mind.
But if all you do is provide a way for diversity sensitive people to pad their following lists with socially approved diverse individuals, you're not changing anything. You're giving people a way to pat themselves on the back and feel like they are doing their part. You're building new cliques and organizing new armies for future social media wars.
Straight white american males are so boring, so standard, so unremarkable in their appearances and their backgrounds that people can't help but focus on what they are saying instead of who is saying it.
These diversity play's that highlight people's status as minorities inevitably fail because they can't divorce who a person is from what they want to say. By making us pay attention to who a person is and making us self-conscious about who we follow and don't follow we ultimately distract ourselves from what matters: content.
It would be incredibly grating if I had to be reminded someone was part of an underrepresented group every time I interacted with them, to the point that I would just stop interacting with them because of it.
Real diversity is not a conscious effort. I've seen it. A bunch of people of different backgrounds come together, work on something, and go home, and no one even realizes or comments how diverse the group is. Nor do they even care. That would be weird. As weird as being in a conference room of white men and blurting out "Hey guys! We're all straight white males!"
I'm curious what the impact on your site would be if you removed all language of diversity and simply presented the people there as interesting people to follow, not even giving the user a chance to realize you are over representing minorities and playing into their guilt of following mostly straight white males. Would your site still receive such acclaim, or would it fold like a house of cards? We'll never know. You'll never know.
You are still the one that made the decision to implement a one-sided feature, though, so you considered it worth it.
> so I don't think you are so right to call me out on the supposed wrongdoing.
The "supposed wrongodoing" is highlighting only women in the home page, which you do. It was not about not having other filters.
> Religion & political ideology were 2 filters I wanted to implement prior to launch but I did not fearing controversy
I wonder why you thought that providing only the categories that appeal only to a minority of people  was going to not be controversial.
> the website's core concept is to find diverse users, as in minorities & underprivileged group
That is not stated anywhere. The home page says clearly: "Search for Twitter users who share your interests and come from different backgrounds".
> men don't happen to be one of those groups
That is exactly the ideological bias I was calling out.
Men make the majority of
* homeless people
* people in prison (and get longer sentences for the same crimes)
* work related deaths (and the majority of the workforce in dangerous job)
* victims of violence and homicides
* deaths in war
The "pay gap" is a myth, since the difference in average earning is driven mainly by life choices and not by discrimination. The same is true for the lower percentage of women in tech.
The idea that men are a "privileged" category is just ideology, like anything that prescribes a common characteristic to a broad group. And the idea that "POC" think differently that "white people" is, frankly, racist.
We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18521818 and marked it off-topic.
What I understand from it, and the parent comment, is that you're simply stuck in the beliefs of "diversity has ruined men", men have it worse, etc. Unfortunately I might not be able to change your mind, but I hope you understand that the idea of the website was to make groups that were less easy to be found on Twitter (I'll ask, how many women, people of colour, LGBTQ+, people with disabilities and many other groups do you follow? Going to take the risk and say that not as many as men, by a big margin...).
If that upsets you that's unfortunate, I am grateful for the people who were happy with the platform and sent me awesome positive comments. If you want to have a men-centric platform, you may make it yourself, go ahead. It's ironic how you seem to be the kind of person who would have benefited from such a website, getting you out of an echo chamber and seeing multiple perspectives.
No, don't put in my mouth words I never said.
I never said "diversity has ruined men". There is nothing in what I write that is even close to that. That's even a meaningless sentence for what I am concerned.
I also didn't say that men have it worse. They don't.
You are the one claming that women have it worse. They don't.
Some people have it worse, and they happen to be men and women. Some people have it better, and they also happen to be in both categories. So do people that face discrimination.
I am simply refuting is your claim that women are "underpriviledged". That is not true in any measurable way.
> If you want to have a men-centric platform
I don't. Where did I say that?
I only said that you provide narrow, politically-correct categories. The opposite of that is not reversing them and privilege another group. The opposite of that is to give everyone equal treatment, which you don't.
> I'll ask, how many women, people of colour, LGBTQ+, people with disabilities and many other groups do you follow?
Why should that even matter? Do you want to follow more women? Great, go on. Do you want to make a site for people that want to follow your specifically discriminatory categories? Please, have a go. But don't claim it's something else.
The ratio between the men and women I follow on Twitter, for what matters (which is 0) is pretty even. I follow them because they are individuials that have something interesting to say, not because of their gender or their skin color.
Why should I follow more (or less) people of color? Do you think they are different from white people? Do they all think the same to justify me following them just based on their skin color? Isn't that racist?
LGBTQ+ people and disabled people are a small percentage of the overall population. Why do you think they should have a higher number in the people I follow? And again, do they think differently from people not in those groups?
You can discriminate all you want, but you can't seat on the side of the "underrepresented".
I don't see anybody arguing this. The most popular Twitter accounts are of white men, so someone built a tool to find the Twitter feeds of not white men.
By definition the app is to help find underrepresented people (on Twitter).
I'll be honest, your comment comes off as extraordinarily angry for what we're talking about here (someone made an app to help showcase certain minority Twitter accounts). Nobody's suggested the United States Constitution should be rewritten. Nobody's made value statements. So where's all this (I'm seeing) anger coming from?
There's nothing intrinsically wrong with showcasing accounts from underrepresented groups in technology or otherwise. The anger comes from being able to claim what is and what isn't diversity.
Women / people of color are underrepresented on executive management and boards of directors in tech. Guess what? So are Republicans... even moreso than the former. But diversity, as politically defined, only seeks to help the former.
That said, to the OP, great site, great design, and great video.
Sure, but those are all celebrities. People who get on Twitter and follow mostly celebrities don't need this tool. But if your Twitter interest is mostly about an area of, say, software development and you start following popular people who tweet about it, you’re likely to end up following 90% (made up number) white men unless you go out of your way to prevent it.
What's the point of quoting male suicide statistics at a person trying to build out access to minority voices? Nobody is challenging men's ability to form their own communities. This is one app, privately developed, with a specific purpose.
We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18522177 and marked it off-topic.
Do you have a handy source for your stats?
That is some major virtue signalling right there. If that is how you define diversity for yourself you are mistaken. I can surround myself with 50 POC and 20 LGBTQ+ people and still gain no diversity of thoughts.
IMHO it would be far better if you handpicked people, asked them questions (short interview via Twitter) and then portrayed their profile on your website. Of course you should select users by some algorithm that optimally doesn't adhere to your pretty obvious political bias.
If you only ever follow one certain demographic, this tool could be useful to find some other demographics to mix in. You may not get difference of, say, political opinions, but you will absolutely get different perspective on things.
Wanting to have gay people on your Twitter, specifically, doesn't nullify the fact that there's diversity amongst white males. Nobody's community is being threatened by this app. It's just a way to mix it up.