1. Even assuming both person A and person B use the service within a week of each other, the odds that they both use the same hastag are astronomically low. Person A says '#wannaGoOut', but person B says '#IWantToGoOut'. There are way too many possible permutations of a single thought.
2. As another commenter said, the design is clean but feels like it belongs in 1995. It will not get off the ground looking like this. The basic layout is fine, but the colors and fonts need to go.
3. Without an app, I think you'll have a hard time gaining critical mass. If someone has a thought and all it takes to get it out onto Thoughter is to (i) open the app, (ii) type, (iii) and send, then it will be way more likely to be used.
4. This feels a bit like Craigslist Missed Connections. Not saying that's a good - or bad - thing, it just does.
5. What if I see a cute girl at a coffee store, we hit it off, but I don't have her email address - or even her name? What then?
> 1. Even assuming both person A and person B use the service within a week of each other, the odds that they both use the same hastag are astronomically low. Person A says '#wannaGoOut', but person B says '#IWantToGoOut'. There are way too many possible permutations of a single thought.
My hope is that hashtags would become standardized, and hints (https://aytwit.com/thoughter#hints) will also help with this.
> 3. Without an app, I think you'll have a hard time gaining critical mass. If someone has a thought and all it takes to get it out onto Thoughter is to (i) open the app, (ii) type, (iii) and send, then it will be way more likely to be used.
Totally agree. An app would also allow the service to avoid email, and allow encryption on the client-side without the server seeing any plain text at all. Definitely a goal.
> 5. What if I see a cute girl at a coffee store, we hit it off, but I don't have her email address - or even her name? What then?
Good question! I don't have an answer unfortunately. Guess you gotta do things the old-fashioned way. :)
Seconding talking to Snap.
Build an app, get it out there, see whats up
I agree email is so five minutes ago, but it was the easiest path to get started.
2. Yeah, it's a nod to certain eras of web design, which I like, but other people won't care so I agree.
3. It's email-based in order to make it work for recipients who don't have the app.
5. In 2019, it's probably best to support Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram as recipient addresses... somehow. Although most of those aren't technically possible. Those platforms aren't really great for building services on top of.
That's only one of four possible settings, and using it breaks half of the examples: it works great for #reunite, not so great for #breakup
Something like Berkanan, a physical proximity-based messaging app that uses Bluetooth, may help.
Thanks to everyone checking this out. I know it's kind of a weird project, but that's the idea! I've been kicking this project around since college in 2003 when I was afraid to ask a girl out even though I was pretty sure she liked me too. Instead of just asking her out I tried to come up with a way to fix my anxiety with software, and thus Thoughter was born. Don't worry I'm a bit wiser now. :)
You can read more about the back story at https://aytwit.com/blog/thoughter_origin_story and why it took so long for me to complete. Hint: I cared too much about privacy, before it was cool!
"Hey, you're a cool person! #wannaGoOut ?"
"No, I do not #wannaGoOut"
Now, in spite of the rejection, the person asking is revealed. The thin veneer of anonymity is utterly lost here.
(for those curious about my NLP reference, pretty much any remotely controversial topic, word or hashtag will be used with both positive and negative sentiments)
Yeah I #wannaGoOut. Actually Not, just wanted to see who you are.
Not sure if this is interesting to anyone, but in any case, I'm unlikely to be going to make it, so feel free to run with it.
When I say UI/UX isn't there, I mean this needs an app, or at least sign in sessions, so you don't have to confirm your email every time and such.
In lieu of the missed connection's email address, you could provide a few specific details about the encounter (choosing from prewritten options):
Time (options provided in 3-hour blocks ie 9am-12pm), name of neighborhood, city, your ethnicity (or some other easy personally identifying feature).
If the other person also goes on the site to submit a missed connection within a few days of yours and fills out the same details, they'll be prompted to answer the detail about your personally identifying feature to receive your message and relay email to respond to.
(Yes this would only work well if the website became widely known as the place to go to for private missed connections.)
Probably a few loopholes with this, just thinking out loud.
If you don't send a hint, it seems extremely unlikely that the other person will use the service with the exact same hashtag, as another commenter pointed out.
So, where is the utility?
As far as the "no hint" case, well yes the service would need to be in the zeitgeist in order to have utility. Who knows maybe one of the big social networks will steal the idea. They can go for it! Just remember little ole me in the credits section somewhere, is all I ask. :)
Lovegety and other "proximity matchmaking devices"
Online questionnaires for couples that only yield matching answers:
Once in college I got an email from (I think) ecrush.com, saying "someone has a crush on you", and on the site you could enter email addresses of people you had crushes on and it would spam them that same thing, anonymous until there was a match. (Personally, I suspect it was bootstrapping by sending fake initial "someone has a crush on you" emails to scraped emails, but I didn't dig in too deep.)
Further, if I received an email from this site, I would assume it was a scam and delete it. I get dozens of emails from services pretending I’ve signed up to them or that they have real content from me.
Could you elaborate? I have vague worries since there's not a captcha or anything. But I can't think of an attack or abuse beyond a DoS-type thing, and I don't know why someone would do that beyond trolling. I know my naïveté probably sounds painful but I would appreciate more feedback here.
Would a captcha be enough? My concern there is that I'm being super paranoid about privacy (https://aytwit.com/about#privacy) and wouldn't want to incorporate Google's captcha if I don't have to.
I would implement heavy rate limiting and maybe come up with a basic captcha that would stop most spammers.
Oh, and by the way: if you want italics there can’t be a space between the asterisk and the phrase to be italicized (like * this * versus this).
Even if you require approval from the sending email before pushing the thought, someone can still use Mailinator/similar for that.
Personally, the combination of solution-in-search-of-a-problem and this sort of hassle would make this a non-starter for me. I can't think of a single time someone would realistically use any of the modes the site lists. If they used a hashtag, there's no way to handle knowing which email address someone might've used (personal, work, etc).
The first-date example had me checking for April 1.
"It's all up to Lisa now. If she really wants to get out of there she might check for a bunch of variations like #wannaGetOutOfHere, #letsBounce, #notFeelingThisPlace, #wannaGo, etc."
What are the chances that two people on a date use their phones long enough and are both aware of an obscure site to make more progress than just saying "Well, this is very formal. What do you think?"
But some of the use cases seem a bit childish.
Maybe I'm too mature but it's much easier to just suck it up and be honest and open about a topic. This seems like it would enable a father to forgo talking about a difficult subject with his child because he would have a false sense of "well at least I tried" from using the app. Long story short I think the idea risks decaying a relationship more then strengthening it.
I'm probably wrong though! I'm wrong constantly.
My guess is that this would appeal most to a younger audience but how many teenagers communicate via email?
I think it'd be a hit if it could somehow integrate with social media or even just SMS.
If you send hints like "someone wants to #reunite" I'm sure the recipient will accept just to find out who the person is regardless of what their offline intentions are. Since your identity is revealed anyway I don't see how this saves you from the perceived embarrassment of just asking the person directly.
In the past I've often desired and tried asking for things subtly or in a round about way so as to hunt at what I want without the risk if rejection. In my experience it's not a great path to take.
If the fear of rejection outweighs the potential benefits and you can't bring yourself to ask (for a date, raise, reunion, etc.) then maybe you just don't want as much as you think you do.
When you want something deeply enough you'll ask for it without fear or embarrassment.
The way hashtag-based hints work is that the recipient would only see that someone had a thought with that hashtag, not who. I don't know if that addresses your point exactly, but the recipient in this case doesn't necessarily know who wants to #reunite, it's not revealed just by clicking or anything. If they suspect someone specifically then it's up to them to guess essentially.
> When you want something deeply enough you'll ask for it without fear or embarrassment.
It sounds to me like you are not an introvert and judge who is by "not wanting things enough". It's not as simple as you think.
There is wisdom in the phrase carpe diem.
If I want a raise, I have the potential for a reward and a potential risk of letting my boss know that I'm not happy with my current salary. I think that fear of asking is really that fear of rejection or fear of disconnection.
What I'm saying is that this tool won't always be there and we need to find ways on our own to minimize the fear / risk of asking for what we want in life.
Sure, you might get lucky a couple times with this app, but life will keep throwing you more awkward situations.
If I have time to meet a woman tonight and it's 4pm, what exactly is Tinder replacing? The hell of cold-approaching women at bars until one of them seems to like me? Mine my depleted social circle for a date? Wank off in my bedroom because I don't have any new prospects and be happy with that?
The whole point of Tinder is to find new face to face interactions.
A lot of people are not comfortable with confrontation in the first place. And it is entirely normal. It just how people are wired and expecting them to change themselves drastically is not fair on them. It should be a gradual process and a thing like thoughter is a great use for "getting started". End goal is of course to confront.
Instead offer a few predefined categories of tags, and the user can select one or more of them. That also improves the UI as you can now offer autocomplete in that field and lower the barrier of entry (removing option paralysis).
So I guess I just have to keep my morality in check? :)
So correct me if I am wrong but I think thoughter is most useful when you almost "know" that you have a thought resonating with somebody else and you want to confirm it. Its not for making wild hits at people. Right?
One should never feel withdrawn from any conversations, or exploring their feelings. If you want to ask someone out, but have fear/anxiety, you have a "problem" you need to address bravely. Get to the bottom of your fears, reach a conclusion and act on it. Whatever happens, happens. Using thoughter just leaves you buried in your comfort zone, making you never questioning the nature of your own self. It's an easy way out or an excuse for not being accountable to your self. Leaving result of important situations in your life to external circumstances is not a good idea.
Even bought the domain thottr.com for this back in 2011. Hilarious
There's actually a patent from the mid-90's that basically describes the same idea that we both came up with: https://patents.google.com/patent/US5117358A/en. I found it after I had finished the first version and was crushed that someone had thought of my genius idea first.
And note that the other party can check if you sent those other thoughts out if they wanted, so it's socially risky for you to do so ("Ew what a creep, he blasted out all four bases!"). This stuff is fun to think about.
One perfect use-case for this is for an adopted person. They don't know their birth mum and dad, and it takes intense bravery to face up to that and reach out and trust them to feel the same way as you. What if you get rejected? Wouldn't you try to make this interaction safer? What if you could even practice it knowing that the communication would be erased in a short time?
Yes, I'm talking about me. And others in my position.
You're suggesting this is an unrealistic example? The tool is far from elegant enough to facilitate such a reunion, but I can count a handful of such estranged father/son pairs for which the right mediation might help.
I do think some of the other examples are really good though, and I like the possibilities. I think I’m just sensitive to one part of it, and that sensitivity shouldn’t write it off fornwhat it could be.
Also, layout is clean, but feels a bit antiquated. Bootstrap perhaps?
If I am reading correctly, if person S sends person R a message M bearing hash tag H, if R sends their own message M2 to S bearing hash tag H2, then M will be revealed to R and M2 will be revealed to S, if and only if H equals H2. (S may choose some behaviors, such as revealing their identity, in order to prompt R into sending a message.)
As for your second paragraph:
I like this site's design<1> a lot. I was able to skim it quickly, and absorb enough to answer your question and more. With respect, I think more work has gone into its design than "antiquated" would suggest.
For one example, on mobile the body paragraphs on the right of the screen can themselves be dragged to the left to read all the info, instead of my having to use the tiny fiddly scrollbar. I think that's a smart feature for a mobile site with a fair bit of text (such as on the SQL page.) Consider also that the site uses colors for text, background, and UI elements (body, nav, etc) that neither clash hideously nor strain the eyes with too-low contrast; plenty of old websites don't take that level of care (think a typical professor's academic homepage - now THOSE can get antiquated!)
Bootstrap will get you a "modern"-style site without too much effort, but I don't think it would add anything here.
<1> By design I am waving in the general direction of layout, color scheme, ease of use, etc.
I think https://aytwit.com/thoughter#hints answers your question.
As others have mentioned, without this hint hashtags are rather sparse.
Edit: realized from your comment you probably read that section already, apologies!
Do the messages to the other person get a delay? Being able to set that delay, or potentially set a window during which the thought would be randomly sent would be cool.
Using an email address for this seems archaic.
Also, it seems this service is only relevant at all in romantic contexts, and My gues is that most girls are not attracted to men that are to shy to talk to them directly. But maybe I’m old fashioned.
It’s counterintuitive at first, but within a second you work it out. Works well on iPhone 6s safari.
Thought - ter? Sounds like I'm saying Daughter.
Tough-ter? As in tuff - ter?
Terrible name imo.
The thought of that just cracked me up :D Seems like a really good idea though, I like it!
Short answer: 22 matches so far from this HN post. I suspect most of these were people testing it out, but who knows maybe there were some real ones? If anybody's reading still, post if you got a legit match! I purposely don't store any thought/person-specific data. Just anonymized and aggregated metrics: https://aytwit.com/sql#event_table
This is a classic chicken-and-egg issue: No one will want to use it unless/until enough people are using it to have some hope of a reply.
Any plan for how to address that issue?
https://aytwit.com/thoughter#hints sort of solves the adoption problem, in that you wouldn't necessarily need a critical mass of people for the service to be useful. Even just one patron could initiate a thought with another.
I will suggest that maybe you need to move the "Hints" section or otherwise highlight it in some fashion. If they have the thought "Eh, no one even knows this service exists. Why bother?" before they get to the Hints section, this could be a barrier to adoption.
I tried linking to that "hint" anchor tag in the first paragraph but even that is expecting too much. I'll give a think about how I can highlight the whole hint/adoption thing more since it's a main point of feedback. Thanks!
Sometimes you want to ask someone a question or tell them a secret and you suspect or hope they're thinking the same thing, but it's uncomfortable to bring up. This is what Thoughter is for!
And they don't even have to know Thoughter exists. You can send them a Hint. But more about that later.
Let's say it's the holidays and you and a loved one had a fight a while back. You aren't sure they would welcome hearing from you. You can send a Thought like "I miss you #reunite" that lasts one week. If your loved one sends the same sort of thing with a matching hashtag, you each get the other's email. If not, nothing happens.
This used to be done much more naturally back when people routinely lived in close-knit communities. People would ask a friend a question and that friend would ask their friend. Word traveled by the grapevine, which helped sort things out.
But in our increasingly mobile world, a lot of grapevines have basically died. This is your modern grapevine, now with Encryption!
Move: "The first project out of Aytwit's software research labs." to much later. Like close with it or something. It's important to you. It mostly isn't important to the process of getting adoption. Making it the first sentence amounts to "noise."
The opening line "The first project out of Aytwit's software research labs." is making me cringe now lol.
But this requires too many assumptions on participants.
I would reconsider this decision.
Edit: To be clear, a font sets the tone for the content of a page and unless your project is an invitation to a clown orgy then Comic Sans sets the wrong tone.
Compare the current version: https://i.imgur.com/W8stZVf.png
...to the same thing with a couple of quick styling tweaks I added in dev tools: https://i.imgur.com/RJhLz7B.png
Still offbeat, much less "child's keyboard color scheme" (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B007YW3CL6).
Seriously though the font put me off at first glance, people who just visit it might not hang around long enough to become a user.
It doesn't take much poking around to see that the project is in earnest.