Leonidas's recent activity

  1. Comment on Blued, one of the biggest gay dating apps in the world, has succeeded because it plays by the ever-shifting rules for LGBTQ in China - bringing together a minority community without activism in ~lgbt

    Leonidas
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    Interesting how they're trying to frame the use of apps like Blued as a profitable endeavor and public health benefit. While it certainly can't be compared to the Stonewall-inspired LGBT rights...

    Interesting how they're trying to frame the use of apps like Blued as a profitable endeavor and public health benefit. While it certainly can't be compared to the Stonewall-inspired LGBT rights movement in the U.S. after WWII, I wonder whether they'll eventually be able to get the government to open things up more for LGBT people in China with ideas like this. The idea of such a push being led by a corporation is dubious, but the personal backstory of the site's founder shows that there's legitimate good intentions, if nothing else.

    5 votes
  2. Comment on Bread pudding and the comforts of queer baking in ~food

    Leonidas
    Link
    When thinking about posting this, I wasn't sure whether it should go in ~lgbt, ~food, or somewhere else, but my thought process is that since the main body of the piece is devoted to describing...

    When thinking about posting this, I wasn't sure whether it should go in ~lgbt, ~food, or somewhere else, but my thought process is that since the main body of the piece is devoted to describing the food itself (including a specific recipe which sounds absolutely delicious), while the specific emotional connotations are a frame of reference to view it in, it's best suited here. After all, how many online recipes have we all read which include the author's life story as the preamble? Anyway, I thought this was interesting due to the way it defies categorization and how it connects a seemingly simple dessert to both the world at large and the author's very personal life experiences.

    2 votes
  3. Comment on Creating a safer internet with .gay in ~lgbt

    Leonidas
    Link
    This will certainly make for more fun mastodon instance names, if nothing else. I almost assumed something like this already existed, considering the proliferation of non-traditional TLDs like...

    This will certainly make for more fun mastodon instance names, if nothing else. I almost assumed something like this already existed, considering the proliferation of non-traditional TLDs like .social. Now that it does, though, I'm glad it's being treated as an important signifier with quality control, not just another throwaway to cross off the list.

    4 votes
  4. Comment on Why Democratic leaders still misunderstand the politics of social class in ~news

    Leonidas
    Link
    This is a very interesting article, and I think it makes a lot of insightful points. I think it's also important to recognize other ways the possession of a degree has been used to shut people out...

    This is a very interesting article, and I think it makes a lot of insightful points. I think it's also important to recognize other ways the possession of a degree has been used to shut people out from opportunities--after outright racial discrimination became unacceptable, many companies simply filtered job applicants by their education level, knowing that as one ascends the hierarchy of the education system, its composition skews more and more white (and male). I think it is also important to note that Sanders' plan also includes making trade school free, so even if that aspect of the "Education for All" policy isn't pushed as much, it's still there and reflects a desire on some level to include more groups than just college-educated people. Sanders does have high working-class support, so maybe that's in spite of the emphasis on student debt and more due to other policies like Medicare for All, rather than due to any desire of tons more people to go to college.

    This is why I think it's fascinating to see the distinction between Warren and Sanders' rhetoric. Warren typically talks about "corruption" and how "she's got a plan for that," implying the system itself is fine and has just been temporarily subverted. Sanders, in contrast, often says the system itself is "rigged," and that temporary, limited reforms or simply electing one person will be enough to build a new one. Obviously there are more factors at play, but some people have interpreted that as reflective of the reasons Warren's base is largely college-educated white liberals, while Sanders' is more diverse, both class- and race-wise.

    The comparison to the Industrial Revolution was also insightful, and reminded me of something I read about the original Luddites: their opposition to machinery wasn't due to some superstitious fear of advancing technology, but rather the very real economic threat of their replacement by bigger, better textile mills with less manual labor involved. Similarly, you could argue that the opposition to outsourcing and the "global economy" is due less to xenophobia or opposition to the departure of manufacturing capacity from the U.S. on principle, and more the issue that it's not replacing those jobs with anything similar, leaving many people in the lurch and forced to try to adapt or go into poverty.

    The part about how different classes raise their children was also interesting to me because it echoed something I'd been learning about recently--"elaborated" and "restricted" codes of communication. Everyone in a society is exposed to the restricted code, which focuses on talking about shared experiences and reinforcing social bonds, while also emphasizing obedience to authority and being ordered to do something rather than given a reason. However, people with access to environments with better education learn in the elaborated code, which is based on communicating precisely, being objectively analytical and providing logical reasons to explain things. This isn't to say being limited to the restricted code makes you less smart (and I'm probably doing a poor job of explaining it regardless), but it's a very similar phenomenon which I noticed.

    4 votes
  5. Comment on Mastodon, My Saviour: Why the left should ditch ad-verse social media in ~tech

    Leonidas
    Link Parent
    From my personal experience, I didn't really feel a significant pull to my Mastodon instance until I'd amassed a decent-sized network of mutuals whose posts I often saw and who often interacted...

    From my personal experience, I didn't really feel a significant pull to my Mastodon instance until I'd amassed a decent-sized network of mutuals whose posts I often saw and who often interacted with my own posts. Screaming into the void can be fun when it's a new void, but after a while, the novelty of a new platform wears off and you have to have actual reasons to stay. In my case, though, I didn't try to leave the social media sites I was already on, and I essentially built a new social environment from scratch without trying to leave as a group with other people I already knew.

    4 votes
  6. Comment on Mastodon, My Saviour: Why the left should ditch ad-verse social media in ~tech

    Leonidas
    Link Parent
    You raise a lot of good points. I considered changing the title of my submission to something more generically applicable, but considering the political bent of the article itself, I didn't feel...

    You raise a lot of good points. I considered changing the title of my submission to something more generically applicable, but considering the political bent of the article itself, I didn't feel like it'd be right to give people false impressions just to get more clicks. The overall idea definitely has merit across the board, though.

    As far as the issues being faced by bloggers, I don't really have much experience with that side of the internet so I can hardly call myself an expert, but it's true that personal blogs don't have the same level of reach and relevancy that they used to before the rise of centralized "ad-verse" platforms like Twitter. (As far as whether it's affected by the corporate interests on these platforms, that's an entirely different debate.) That being said, I doubt moving to Mastodon would help them regain that clout; if anything, it would make it even more difficult, since discoverability is much less emphasized on these instances. There's no popups of "who to follow," no posts by random accounts shown in your timeline because a lot of your mutual followers liked them, etc. It's solely reserved for people you specifically search for, see posts from, etc. What's more, there's hardly any celebrity or brand presence, or really any special power given to people who would be considered influential elsewhere. So I don't see why having a lot of left-wing bloggers make the switch would spur any kind of avalanche of new users.

    This discussion kind of reminded me of a post I saw earlier which struck a chord with me. I screenshotted it so I'll post a link if I find it again.

    Tumblr and Twitter got us addicted to this idea that "being connected" is what makes you more friends, and that blocking people is thus an act of aggression and pushing people away. But are we really happier just "being connected"? Are you actually any less lonely with a million strangers staring at you rather than in a closed space with a handful of friends you trust?

    Connections are good. But we should be focusing on making good connections, not necessarily "more" connections.

    By the way...this is why I don't necessarily agree with the common fediverse mentality of "cutting off the birdsite cold turkey". That's probably much easier to do when you have much less to lose by doing so, too.

    To change people's social media habits requires, well...being social. It requires going back and forth and checking on the friends you care about and taking that journey together.

    5 votes
  7. Comment on Mastodon, My Saviour: Why the left should ditch ad-verse social media in ~tech

    Leonidas
    Link
    A few notes: First of all, I was confused right off the bat when she referred to the "2019 general election," wondering if it might've been a typo for an intended reference to the 2016 U.S....

    A few notes:

    First of all, I was confused right off the bat when she referred to the "2019 general election," wondering if it might've been a typo for an intended reference to the 2016 U.S. presidential election, but realized it was actually referring to the British elections last year. That's America-centrism for you! (Probably should've also been clued in by the spelling of "labour," tbh.)

    When she refers to the "feudal structure" of social media and how they're administered unilaterally by admins who own the platforms, it's interesting to note that decentralized alternatives like Mastodon don't necessarily change that, since the same administrative structures remain in place. However, that doesn't necessarily need to be the case, and the instance I'm on is run as a cooperative. What's more, the fact that so many instances are available means people are free to migrate between them with minimal effort if the owner is behaving tyrannically (or is embroiled in a personal scandal). I wonder if there'd be some way to study the overall trends of moderation strictness and its effects on migration. Then again, considering that many instances are geared towards niche groups and have other cultural factors at play, it'd be difficult to do so without becoming incredibly subjective and making inaccurate generalizations. How does one even quantify "strictness," for example?

    Another interesting point is that she often refers to left-wing bloggers and content creators "switching platforms," as if the goal is to fuel another traditional site to become the next Twitter or Facebook. While there are "flagship" instances like mastodon.social which offer a similar genre of experience to Twitter, I don't think it's accurate to proclaim Mastodon, and by extension the rest of the fediverse, as some kind of unified platform. She even mentions potential infiltration by alt-right extremists, apparently overlooking that there are already instances like Gab which already cater to that demographic. Yet those instances are largely silo'd off from other instances, and even those which don't explicitly defederate from them and block all traffic get some heat for not going far enough to protect people on other instances they're connected to. Thus, I'd be hesitant to call Mastodon a platform in and of itself, since that implies it's a unified space. At the risk of sounding pseudo-academic, I'd call it a "meta-platform," with the instances on it filling the role of separate social actors which operate according to various distinct ideas and may or may not "talk" to each other according to differences in said ideas.

    A lot of this is just me rambling based on this article, so if anyone else versed in this topic has observations about this, I'd be interested to hear them.

    6 votes
  8. Comment on What's something you're comfortable telling people on the internet that you wouldn't share with people you know in real life? in ~talk

    Leonidas
    Link
    The fact that I'm gay is a big one, which seems to be a common theme in responses to this post with all the LGBT stuff. To clarify, though, it's not that I wouldn't share it per se and more that I...

    The fact that I'm gay is a big one, which seems to be a common theme in responses to this post with all the LGBT stuff. To clarify, though, it's not that I wouldn't share it per se and more that I don't really feel inclined to share it with someone unless I know them well already, which is much less about homophobia and more that I don't want to be known in social circles primarily by my sexual orientation. Plenty of people are comfortable with that; it's just not me. I'm also not particularly flamboyant or anything, so I don't feel any obligation to "tell people what they already know," so to speak. Coming out to people IRL is just mentally exhausting. However, online it's much more common to have spaces which are geared towards LGBT people so it's much less of a minority status. I think a big part of being online is that social media creates the inverse of physical relationships--we're more open with parts of ourselves which aren't immediately apparent to others, while we hide personally identifying info like real names, family members, locations, etc.

    The other major thing I'm way more open about is my political beliefs, though this can vary. I'm pretty far on the left side of the spectrum, so I don't want to alienate other people IRL by constantly preaching about the "evils of capitalism" and stuff like that. Personally, I don't think this is even an uncommon mentality; people who try to bring up politics at every opportunity and express controversial opinions to spark a debate are generally regarded as rude. However, I'm certainly open to discussions with people I know well when we're all willing to engage constructively, although even then, I don't just go out and say "hey, I think we should expropriate billionaires' wealth and give every homeless person housing;" it's much less controversial to discuss specific policy ideas without making the entire conversation into a clash of ideologies as a whole. So that's based more on etiquette and a desire for constructive conversation. Of course, the same truth applies with regards to finding spaces with a left-wing bent, and many people would say many online platforms tend to lean liberal (if not left-wing).

    6 votes
  9. Comment on With Neither Tyrants Nor Fascists: An Anarchist Analysis of the Growing Fight Against Anti-Gun Legislation in Virginia in ~news

    Leonidas
    Link Parent
    Yes, that's definitely a legitimate concern. On the other hand, one of the factors which helped me discover leftist thought (as opposed to socially liberal capitalism) was finding out about...

    Yes, that's definitely a legitimate concern. On the other hand, one of the factors which helped me discover leftist thought (as opposed to socially liberal capitalism) was finding out about organizations like the Socialist Rifle Organization and Trigger Warning Queer and Trans Gun Club, since it showed the perspectives on these issues were more nuanced than I'd been aware of. Ronald Reagan, the conservative second coming of Jesus, being a gun-grabber when it came to organizations like the Black Panthers was pretty enlightening. Seeing that the argument for many conservatives is less "the government is infringing on people's rights" and more "the government isn't infringing on other groups' rights as much as we'd like" is key to understanding the authoritarian tendencies which have seemingly popped out of nowhere with Trump and the alt-right.

    3 votes
  10. Comment on With Neither Tyrants Nor Fascists: An Anarchist Analysis of the Growing Fight Against Anti-Gun Legislation in Virginia in ~news

    Leonidas
    Link Parent
    Thank you for the response. I agree with this. My dad grew up in a household that was about as fundamentalist and far-right as you could get without actually being either of those things per se,...

    Thank you for the response.

    I think for the largely white, conservative rural people that form these militias, the threat of the government coming after them is hugely overblown. The Bundys were treated with kid gloves both at the ranch standoff and at the wildlife reserve in Oregon, and hard-right militias have always gotten a longer leash from the FBI than their left-wing equivalents.

    I agree with this. My dad grew up in a household that was about as fundamentalist and far-right as you could get without actually being either of those things per se, and he showed me some of the insane sources like the New American magazine and the John Birch Society which are so influential among these demographics. It's a mindset which is completely divorced from reality, and the more you buy in (which is easier when you're surrounded with people just like you), the harder it gets to disengage from it.

    Modern gun control started with Ronald Reagan and Republicans in California in the 60s in reaction to the Black Panthers openly carrying. If a couple hundred black people showed up to a state capitol decked out in gear like the Virginia protesters were, people would freak the fuck out. Racial slurs would be thrown at them and Fox News and Republicans would make thinly-veiled racist comments about their "lawlessness" and invoking the whitewashed version of Martin Luther King that people are so in love with.

    Yes, and I think this is essentially what's being argued by the writers. I think their concern is less that guns are prevalent and more that the "right to bear arms" is restricted in practice to the demographic you mentioned--rural white conservatives. This is also reflected in law enforcement bias--Atatiana Jefferson was armed when she was shot by cops in her home as a result of a "wellness check" called in by her neighbors. You can guess what the reaction was from gun rights groups, or rather, what it wasn't. Instead, she was demonized and blamed for her own murder, simply for having a firearm to defend herself. When one group of gun owners is backed by multimillion-dollar lobbying groups and acquiescent police forces and other groups are put at risk simply for existing in the first place, it's impossible to claim that the Right is under attack. Yet they're still the ones hamming it up and trying to turn a unionization bill into a decree for the New World Order, because acting like they're under constant threat suits their political purposes.

    It's also pretty hilarious that the article is titled "With Neither Tyrants Nor Fascists" and the picture immediately below that has a guy with a swastika tattoo.

    I think the point behind the title is that left-wing gun owners like the people writing it are opposed to both the far-right (such as the neo-Nazi portrayed in the picture) and people who make tone-deaf arguments for gun control while siding with oligarchs like Bloomberg.

    This reads to me like "people are going to die if this law isn't repealed", which means "people like these protestors are going to kill their opponents if they don't get their way" which is such an incredible self-own. They're not about defending themselves, they're about asserting their power over their enemies.

    You're absolutely right about that, but this isn't a "self-own" as far as I can tell because the writers don't support the ideology or actions of the protesters. In fact, they explicitly state that "[The protesters'] goals are rooted in a long legacy of white vigilantism and State terror." I don't think the writers saying that because of their violent nature, militias like this should be given free reign, but want to emphasize that by simply trying to force gun control, politicians like Northam and Bloomberg ignore that the real consequences are more likely to be further disenfranchisement of left-wing gun owners (especially those from minority groups), and an even more frenzied and motivated conservative backlash.

    9 votes
  11. Comment on With Neither Tyrants Nor Fascists: An Anarchist Analysis of the Growing Fight Against Anti-Gun Legislation in Virginia in ~news

    Leonidas
    Link
    While this article is slightly out of date since the Richmond protests have already occurred (and Alex Jones did indeed show up, as the article speculated), it still digs into the underlying...

    While this article is slightly out of date since the Richmond protests have already occurred (and Alex Jones did indeed show up, as the article speculated), it still digs into the underlying political conflicts which have fueled this debacle. Community defense can be a powerful form of solidarity, as shown by left-wing groups like the Black Panthers and the recent right-wing example of the Oath Keepers which the article mentioned. However, this creates issues when historically, guns have been restricted to white people and "gun culture" is dominated by right-wing groups like the NRA. The political views expressed in this analysis may not be agreeable to everyone, but it shows that the debate over gun control is not as simple as "liberals vs. conservatives."

    6 votes
  12. Comment on A software engineer's advice for saving social media: keep it small in ~tech

    Leonidas
    Link
    I can definitely attest as someone who's on both Twitter and a Mastodon instance that the overall atmosphere and reasons I'm drawn to them are radically different. Twitter, as the article says, is...

    I can definitely attest as someone who's on both Twitter and a Mastodon instance that the overall atmosphere and reasons I'm drawn to them are radically different. Twitter, as the article says, is a hotbed of arguments, snark, and ratio-ing, where you're constantly incentivized to make your voice heard and raise hell about some issue or another. All the celebrities, brands, and politicians are right there for your praise or scorn. On Mastodon, though, the number of celebrities I'm aware are on the platform is vanishingly small, and even then, the fact remains that there's no algorithm to put the hottest, most contentious and popular tweets in your face; the feed is still just chronological, so you only see what you choose to see by following others. (Contrast that with Twitter, where I regularly see tweets from random accounts because people I'm following follow them, or because they liked that particular tweet.)

    Since so many communities in the fediverse are small and/or have a specific theme and culture, you feel more of a connection to the other people in your instance, and you're easily able to browse feeds of local toots on your instance and the toots from instances which are connected to your own. However, this doesn't mean you're restricted to following people on your own instance; as long as the instances are federated, you can remote-follow people and still get the same benefits as if the whole platform was centralized like Twitter.

    Of course, all this isn't to say that Mastodon is a perfect platform free from conflict. As mentioned in the article, many of the more left-wing instances are united in refusing to federate with instances like Gab which are rife with hate speech and calls to violence, as well as cutting off the instances that federate with them. This can lead to ideological conflict between instances led by admins who would rather let individual users block people they come across when they show up, to those who simply proactively defederate from those instances altogether to protect the communities they've built from having any connection to toxic places. Overall, though, I think the vast majority of the fediverse still has a common mindset and goal--to create their own communities on their own terms, rather than being beholden to the decisions of corporate platforms which only facilitate interactions to turn a profit. Even though Tildes is a separate project, I find it to be similar because of that shared mindset of growth for the sake of the people on the platform, not just so there are more views and clicks to exploit.

    3 votes
  13. Comment on A software engineer's advice for saving social media: keep it small in ~tech

    Leonidas
    Link Parent
    There are actually some federated link aggregator projects (in the same vein as Tildes and Reddit) such as Lemmy which are currently in the works.

    There are actually some federated link aggregator projects (in the same vein as Tildes and Reddit) such as Lemmy which are currently in the works.

  14. Comment on TV Tuesdays Free Talk in ~tv

    Leonidas
    Link
    I binge-watched "The Boys" on Prime and all I can say is wow. It's such a dark show, and I mean dark, but it's interspersed with so many moments of banal humanity and even humor. What I found was...

    I binge-watched "The Boys" on Prime and all I can say is wow. It's such a dark show, and I mean dark, but it's interspersed with so many moments of banal humanity and even humor. What I found was interesting was that every character, even the cruelest, most savagely opportunistic ones, are characterized deeply and show how it's possible to sympathize with them somewhat. I kept looking for the person who was really pulling the strings and masterminding all the bad events which happened, but even though there were several twists, it becomes painfully clear that no one is exempt from blame, but everyone is also influenced by the actions of those around them, creating a perfect storm of corruption and violence. Especially considering the twist at the end of the season, it's one of the most impactful shows I've watched.

    4 votes
  15. Comment on In Paris, the rebuilding of Notre Dame is being shaped by history, myth, and Emmanuel Macron in ~design

    Leonidas
    Link
    Side note: here is an alternative link for people who are locked out of the Washington Post. I think this debate over historic preservation is interesting because you almost run into a "Ship of...

    Side note: here is an alternative link for people who are locked out of the Washington Post.

    I think this debate over historic preservation is interesting because you almost run into a "Ship of Theseus" paradox--if major elements of the appearance of historic locations like the Notre Dame, such as the gothic spire and unpainted stone iconography, have changed and been added on to over the years, is it truly ideal to remain attached to our more recent perceptions, as opposed to being more open to changes which reflect modern times? There have been proposals such as rebuilding the roof as a greenhouse which are certainly "out there," but should we be really so quick to dismiss these kinds of major changes out-of-hand? I'm not French and can't comment on the cultural heritage of France or the attitudes held towards Notre Dame by French people, but due to the high-profile nature of the fire and subsequent reconstruction, I still think it's an interesting subject to talk about, if for no other reason than that there are many other historic structures throughout the world in need of restoration.

    7 votes
  16. Comment on A mayor in Norway's Arctic looks to China to reinvent his frontier town in ~finance

    Leonidas
    Link
    This was a very interesting article, and actually reminded me of a video I watched a while ago about the town of Barentsburg in northern Norway, which is inhabited by ethnic Russians and owned by...

    This was a very interesting article, and actually reminded me of a video I watched a while ago about the town of Barentsburg in northern Norway, which is inhabited by ethnic Russians and owned by the Russian government. I can't claim to be an expert on shipping lanes, but one wonders whether the increasing use of these new arctic routes will lead to existing trade hubs getting a smaller piece of the pie, and the geopolitical conflicts that will result over these tiny settlements. (Of course, I can't help but find this whole discussion very ominous due to the underlying reality that these new routes are becoming possible due to climate change.)

    4 votes