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    1. Do you still post on Reddit?

      There are some very specific kinds of interactions that are much harder to find anywhere else. At the same time, large subreddits tend to have stringent rules, which mods frequently apply in an...

      There are some very specific kinds of interactions that are much harder to find anywhere else. At the same time, large subreddits tend to have stringent rules, which mods frequently apply in an inconsistent and subjective manner.

      I get that it's hard to manage a sub with thousands of people, but at the same time, it is frustrating to make an effort to write a long post just to realize there is no place for it.

      To make matters worse, the principle of charity is basically unheard of, and people will evaluate your sentences in such a way to make them the least true, sometimes adding personal hostilities.

      Posting on Reddit feels like something that should require a legal department, and I would very much like to stop doing that altogether. At the same time, places like /r/emacs are essential to help me quickly solve issues, and /r/destructiveReaders/ gave me some of the best criticism of my material I have ever had (and I'm including people from outside the Internet).

      So I guess it comes up to self-control to not waste my time with subs that are prone to be toxic. But it's hard, sometimes.

      Do you still post on Reddit? If so, what are your strategies to avoid unnecessary frustration?

      32 votes
    2. I wonder what the social media meta data is like right now

      Facebook et al. must be excited right now with this jackpot of acute behavioral data they're acquiring, in the context of a global catastrophe. I wonder if anyone has any insight here into what...

      Facebook et al. must be excited right now with this jackpot of acute behavioral data they're acquiring, in the context of a global catastrophe. I wonder if anyone has any insight here into what kind of research they are doing? I know it's all usually a tight secret.

      One idea that came to mind is that this would be excellent data to weaponize. Now we (as in social media corps.) can generate a pretty good model of what a global conflict looks like on the level of individual behavior and how that can be used for an advantage. The other edge of the sword would be this will help future public health initiatives but somehow I don't see this info being made publically available...

      7 votes
    3. Book Recommendation: Anti-Social by Andrew Marantz

      I just finished Andrew Marantz's Anti-Social: Online Extremists, Techno-Utopians, and the Hijacking of the American Conversation, and I think it's a book that would interest a lot of the people on...

      I just finished Andrew Marantz's Anti-Social: Online Extremists, Techno-Utopians, and the Hijacking of the American Conversation, and I think it's a book that would interest a lot of the people on this site. Marantz is a journalist for the New Yorker who embedded himself with alt-right influencers and social media companies. This book is a compilation of all of those stories; part memoir, part retelling, part observation, part commentary.

      Despite its title, the book is not a one-dimensional hit piece. I actually strongly dislike the title as I feel it's a bit too barbed for a book that's rooted in extensive, thoughtful contemplation. The author is honest, open-minded, and critical. I hate the word "balanced" for all of the baggage it brings to the table, but it really feels like the best word to use, especially as an antonym for "unbalanced". He deftly handles a lot of different subjects here. He doesn't shy away from giving criticism where its due, but he's also not quick to judge, trying to understand the broader picture first before casting any judgments about it.

      I mention it here because I think it has a lot of relevance to Tildes as a site, as well as the type of people that have congregated here. It covers a lot of ground of direct interest to Tildes: the role of social media platforms to police speech and ideology; how the structure of social media creates influence; how bad faith actors can manipulate systems; how noxious ideologies continue to appeal and propagate. I also know that Tildes trends toward the left, and as someone far on that side myself, I appreciated this book for giving me what I feel was a fair and thoughtful window into the lives of certain high-profile people on the right. It's easy to think of them as a monolith, but I was surprised by the differences between all of his various character portraits. Marantz never loses the individual humanity of his subjects, even when some of them are abjectly abhorrent people.

      I should mention that the book is very US-centric, as that was where he focused his journalistic efforts. As such, readers outside the US might not appreciate it as much, but I still think a lot of what he shares is relevant no matter where you are located since we all share space together online.

      6 votes
    4. What do we actually know about modern disinformation?

      This is an intentionally broad question with a lot of different angles. It's also a question that's naturally hard to get solid grounding on now that nearly everything gets painted as false,...

      This is an intentionally broad question with a lot of different angles. It's also a question that's naturally hard to get solid grounding on now that nearly everything gets painted as false, misleading, or disingenuous by at least someone.

      Normally in my ask threads I throw out a lot of potential talking points, but in this case I want to leave the question open, for people to take it in whichever direction they wish: What do we actually know about modern disinformation, especially related to (but not limited to) online spaces? What are some real, genuine takeaways we can hang our hats on?

      Also, a point of clarity: disinformation here does NOT strictly refer to high-level government propaganda and can include something as low-level as, say, an influencer not disclosing product sponsorship to their followers. I'm interested in distributed falsehoods of any caliber.

      21 votes