Hello. My name is Bix.


Casey Newton has some pushback to a study in Nature on the “global online hate ecology”, but I'm mostly wondering if anyone covering this study has bothered, oh, I don't know, talking to any actual community managers about its conceptions of dealing with extremism and hate online?

#Community #Internet #Hate #Web #August2019

FogCam’s 25-year run has meant that it outlasted another of the web’s earliest webcams. Cambridge University’s coffee pot cam came online a year earlier in 1993, after one scientist who worked at the university wanted a way to check the status of a coffee pot remotely, rather than risk turning up and discovering it empty. “It didn’t vary very much,” the scientist, Quentin Stafford-Fraser, told BBC News back in 2012, “It was either an empty coffee pot, or a full one, or in more exciting moments, maybe a half-full coffee pot and then you’d have to try and guess if it was going up or down.”

From The world’s oldest webcam is shutting down after a quarter of a century by Jon Porter

#Internet #PopCulture #Web #Highlights #August2019

I dare you to read Andrew Marantz's willing descent into Silicon Valley's awkward try at mindfulness and not just come away having found the entire tech sector even more insufferable than you'd previously thought possible.

#Internet #Nonsense #Technology #August2019

When I talked about the built environment and the brain my interest in urban architecture's direct impact upon being autistic was keeping me from recognizing other analogous areas of obvious interest to me, such as online conversations.

I am fascinated by the fact that the “social” in social media can mean different things from one platform to the next. In light of Alan Penn's thought, the quality of social intelligence that emerges from each social media platform is vastly different. And that emerging intelligence is nurtured by the architecture of the software. Whether the developers know it our not, the software answers a litany of questions – How do people communicate with each other? How do you deal with spontaneous conversation? How do people find each other? How do people deal with toxicity?

After bringing to Alan Penn's attention my post on autism and architecture, he replied, “That adds a fascinating dimension to the discussion. I have been thinking about how to include neurodiversity.”

In the interest, then, of “facilitating conversation” as highlighted by its title, I directed Alan Penn to Eller's post.

#Community #Internet #Technology #Web #August2019

In a OneZero piece that highlights the hateful through-line “that’s been hanging around since the days of Waco, that found its home on Breitbart, that was mainstreamed by the Tea Party movement, and that was weaponized during Gamergate”, Colin Horgan makes a revealing rhetorical connection between GamerGate and the right's push to bastardize Section 230 that hadn't occurred to me: “For Trump, it’s all about ethics in content moderation.”

#Internet #Law #Politics #SocialMedia #Web #August2019

Beto O'Rourke apparently thinks it will pass legal muster to “require large internet platforms to adopt terms of service to ban hateful activities” and “remove legal immunity from lawsuits for large social media platforms that fail” to do so. There's no indication as to who or what determines which platforms qualify as “large”, nor any mention of who or what determines which platforms have failed to adopt the prescribed terms of service and therefore which companies have their Section 230 immunity stripped away.

ETA: Or, on the political side, as Adam Steinbaugh puts it, “[W]onder which version of 230 amendments will succeed: the one requiring social media sites to host offensive speech or the one requiring them to ban it.”

#Internet #Law #Politics #Web #August2019

Over the past three years, I’ve been researching our conceptualizations of free speech — why we afford it to Nazis, how its been influenced by billionaires, and how it can exist in a system in which some people have immense power and influence, and most people have almost none. We tend to think of the internet as a separate entity from the real world, but of course the two are inextricably linked. The internet has come to mirror our economic and political atmosphere writ large: dominated by a few people who are largely unaccountable to the masses, filled with disinformation, surveillance, and a consumerism that breeds complacency and overconsumption.

From In Defense of The Small Social Network by P.E. Moskowitz

#Internet #SocialMedia #Web #August2019

This seems like a big deal for the web. Automattic, the folks behind WordPress, just bought Tumblr from Verizon. On the one hand, consolidation of blogging and social sites is not terrific. On the other hand, Tumblr's been kicked from itself to Yahoo! to Verizon over the years, and Automattic likely can bring some long-term stability to the platform. Yes, I know, we're supposed to be all about the IndieWeb now, but, still.

ETA: Tumblr's staff blog posted about the sale, saying they look “forward to continuing to create products that empower your self-expression and sense of community and that build a better, more inclusive internet”.

Last year's adult content ban, however, will remain in place, including the ban on the much-maligned “female-presenting nipples”.

ETA: More details have emerged about the technical aspects. Automattic plans to move Tumblr to WordPress on the backend but apparently won't change the frontend user experience.

ETA: Out of curiosity, how do I know if my nipples are female-presenting? Is there a howto, I mean a FAQ?

#Blogging #Business #Internet #Web #August2019

One of my regular Substack newsletter reads has opened up paid subscriptions and it's made me think about something I think is an innate flaw in Substack's paid newsletters model. Were I to want to pick up paid memberships, say, in my five most-read Substack subscriptions it would probably run me at least a combined $25/month.

As I write this, you could subscribe to all of The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Medium for $17/month. That's dozens and dozens of writers for less than it would cost to support five Substack newsletters. That seems financially untenable, ultimately, for Substack. At some point, they are going to look into giving their writers a way to group themselves together in subscription packages.

Better yet, or at least in the interim since this might be easier and quicker to establish on the backend, establish a way in which higher-performing and monetized newsletter writers can “adopt” lower-tier newsletters which can't yet financially support themselves. Adoptee newsletter writers would get a cut of what the adopter writer brings in each month. It would be an exercise in community-building, and a way for successful newsletter writers to leverage that success to help build up the work of others.

Without some way to allow subscribers access to a larger number of authors for their monthly fee, I don't see how Substack's model will work over the longterm except for a select few, which is basically what you see on their leaderboard, which is a terrible metric to have in the first place.

ETA: Yes, I did do a test-run on Substack for awhile. Outside of the fact I clearly don't have enough unique or interesting things to say for people to want to chip in to support me in saying them, the newsletter model ultimately doesn't work for me anyway, because I post too frequently. Which is why I went back, here, to old-school blogging.

#Internet #Money #Web #August2019

Like I said. You aren't going to find “small moments of shared humanity” with someone who simply doesn't like sharing the internet with humanity and feels that they wouldn't have to suffer so “had really smart people not made careers of lowering the bar of entry”. For those who don't recall, said poster literally at one point lamented that people who don't know any HTML are allowed to participate in online conversations.

#Internet #Nonsense #Web #August2019