wcerfgba's recent activity

  1. Comment on A letter on justice and open debate in ~humanities

  2. Comment on A letter on justice and open debate in ~humanities

    wcerfgba
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    I wish they had shared the specific examples they are trying to invoke, since the context of each case is so important. Is anyone really being 'silenced' though? If you post blantantly terrible...

    Editors are fired for running controversial pieces; books are withdrawn for alleged inauthenticity; journalists are barred from writing on certain topics; professors are investigated for quoting works of literature in class; a researcher is fired for circulating a peer-reviewed academic study; and the heads of organizations are ousted for what are sometimes just clumsy mistakes.

    I wish they had shared the specific examples they are trying to invoke, since the context of each case is so important.

    The way to defeat bad ideas is by exposure, argument, and persuasion, not by trying to silence or wish them away.

    Is anyone really being 'silenced' though? If you post blantantly terrible transphobic rhetoric on your Twitter and personal blog (referencing JK Rowling who is one of the signatories of this letter) then people will respond to that and call you out, but nobody is forcing your publisher to drop you or forcing you or your hosting providers to take down your content.

    There is also a difference between a thoughtful critique of bad content and a Twitter pile-on. Even if you are sharing transphobic and bigoted ideas, I don't think you deserve to have your Twitter feed overloaded with threats of violence, rape and murder. If cancelling wants to retain its legitimacy as a form of attack against maligned influencers then it needs to separate itself from dogpiling.

    Ultimately I feel like Twitter is the main problem here. Should people be able to voice a controversial opinion? Yes. Should other people be able to critique those opinions? Yes. Do some people wield their power as influencers to spread misinformation and bigotry? Yes. Should those instances of misinformation and bigotry be called out? Yes. But Twitter doesn't help any of this, it just feeds on the reward cycles of our brains by reducing to zero the effort required to broadcast a single sentence to millions of people. Good discourse does not happen like that, it requires thoughtful and intentional shaping of multiple sentences, in private, possibly in private collaboration with others, before it is put out in to the world -- hmm just like how this piece was written perhaps? 🙃 Likewise, because people can dogpile so easily on Twitter is feeds this chilling effect where people don't feel like they can safely talk about controversial issues, because they worry about the effects of the mob on their careers and relationships.

    EDIT Just saw this letter was published on Jul 7 2020, I wonder if there have been any good responses to it or if Harpers have a follow-up?

    9 votes
  3. Comment on What everyone gets wrong about "critical race theory" in ~humanities

    wcerfgba
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    Posting this in ~news 'cos I figure it classifies as 'political analysis' given CRT has become such a hot issue recently. I am a fan of T1J's channel, I find his content well-balanced and I...

    Posting this in ~news 'cos I figure it classifies as 'political analysis' given CRT has become such a hot issue recently. I am a fan of T1J's channel, I find his content well-balanced and I believe they argue in good faith. I am not well read in CRT but I think this gives a good overview of the 'real' idea and addresses the problems with mis-representing CRT from both right and left.

    1 vote
  4. Comment on Uyghur tribunal in ~news

    wcerfgba
    Link
    This is the homepage for the tribunal taking place in the UK. From the video links you can get to the YouTube channel where the sessions are being live-streamed.

    This is the homepage for the tribunal taking place in the UK. From the video links you can get to the YouTube channel where the sessions are being live-streamed.

    2 votes
  5. Comment on Reuters puts its website behind a paywall in ~news

    wcerfgba
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    Very disappointing, I use Reuters because I consider them to have good, unbiased coverage. I think it would be better if I could pay for access to individual articles instead of subscriptions.

    Very disappointing, I use Reuters because I consider them to have good, unbiased coverage. I think it would be better if I could pay for access to individual articles instead of subscriptions.

    4 votes
  6. Comment on Feneas (a non profit provider of open source services), is having problems covering expenses and is at the risk of shutting down, so it is now having a fundraiser in ~comp

    wcerfgba
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    I've syndicated this to HN and sent them some money. Great project, hope they manage to stay afloat. :)

    I've syndicated this to HN and sent them some money. Great project, hope they manage to stay afloat. :)

    5 votes
  7. Comment on Are r&b, funk, soul and jazz the least controversial music genres or is it me? in ~music

    wcerfgba
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    In my friend circles jazz gets a bad rap, although people are coming around to it more as I continue to expose them to it. But jazz is a very broad area. I listen to a lot of bebop and for a lot...

    In my friend circles jazz gets a bad rap, although people are coming around to it more as I continue to expose them to it. But jazz is a very broad area. I listen to a lot of bebop and for a lot of people its too fast or dissonant, like there is too much going on or the musicians are trying to 'play too much' or they're trying 'too hard', but I love it. Cool and West Coast jazz like Brubeck seems to get a better reception in the mainstream. Some free jazz is too much for me and just sounds like garbage -- I like some Coleman but Dolphy's Out to Lunch! is too much for me.

    My partner can't stand transients in music so he hates most modern R&B like D'Angelo (another favourite of mine) but he likes more classic stuff like Motown which I find OK, if a little tame.

    So I think it really depends on what people are used to. If you hear stuff with a lot of jazz influences then you will less offended by the harder stuff I guess?

    3 votes
  8. Comment on Trio | Social video optimized for threes in ~tech

    wcerfgba
    Link Parent
    Absolutely! :) My key take-aways are in italics. To start, I should say I am a full stack developer by profession, so I have a lot of experience with HTML+CSS and work with it regularly, so that...

    Absolutely! :) My key take-aways are in italics.

    To start, I should say I am a full stack developer by profession, so I have a lot of experience with HTML+CSS and work with it regularly, so that certainly gives me an advantage for the technical parts of the work. I have no professional design, copywriting or marketing experience.

    The first thing I did was to write down the basic idea and get a clear vision in my mind of what this product was supposed to do, what problems it is intending to solve, how I could lay out the webpage, etc. I wrote a quick pitch which ended up becoming a good chunk of the copy on the landing page.

    Next I wanted to come up with a color scheme and logo. I used Inkscape for all the graphics. I had the idea to go for an Instagram-style triple gradient and I wanted something light and airy so I immediately went for a kind of sky blue / teal and then chose colors that were close to that in terms of hue. I made a swatch with my colors and then I built the triple-gradient box by overlapping three boxes, one with each color fading to transparency. The logo was another random idea: I already had the image in my head of circles or bubbles for each video feed so the idea of interlocking circles just came to me very quickly. I didn't spend too long thinking about any of the design, which I think is key to moving fast with this kind of stuff: I could have spent days agonising over the colors, the logo, the name, etc. but sometimes you need to just take an idea and run with it. It can be really hard to see if a single element of a design is good or bad outside of a complete deliverable -- i.e. when you can see the colors on the page with the layout and the typography and everything else, a fully realised design, it's much easier to see if everything is harmonious and works together -- so I recommend trying to get to a big picture view quickly and then you can go back and change parts you're not happy with.

    For the stacking of the logo, title and tagline I wasn't sure if I should go side-by-side or what kinda layout I wanted, or even how I should scale the fonts, so I took inspiration from the Telegram website, where they stack it just like this, albeit with a smaller logo. Coming up with ideas is hard, so having a few things to inspire you and give you an initial direction can be really useful. Don't be afraid of 'stealing' someone else's ideas, everything is a remix and our brains are constantly drawing on things we have already seen when trying to make new things that are 'novel'.

    The 'media card' with an image and text is a classic component of web design that I am familiar with and I think does a good job of showing some thing and then allowing you to talk about it. It's also really easy to make responsive cos you can just drop the text below the image when the page gets too narrow. I whipped up an initial view of this in Inkscape to see what it looked like before I went on to code up the landing page.

    All the product demo images are also done in Inkscape. I got the stock photography from Unsplash. I didn't take time to make sure everything is perfectly centered or lined up, I just did it by eye cos I wanted to be quick -- keep your goal in mind: do you wanna get the landing page done as quickly as possible, or do you wanna learn how to use your graphics software better? They're both fine goals, nothing wrong with doing a project to learn more about the process, just know what your goal is and optimise your decisions towards achieving that goal.

    I have an empty HTML5 template with common meta tags in ready to go for when I need a new HTML file, so I made a copy of this. Because I only needed a single page, I didn't bother with any build tooling, separate CSS files or anything like that: I used python -m http.server to spin up a local server for development and I built the whole thing in a single file. I put the CSS at the top to prevent FOUC. I coded up my header with the logo and the cards and put in some default margins to get things spaced apart. I implemented it for desktop first and then went back and amended the CSS for mobile view, testing responsiveness as I went.

    As I was coding up the page proper, I wrote most of the copy as I went, and thought about the full flow of the landing page. I think these kind of pages are narrative: there is a problem; we can solve it; look at these cool features which solve the problem; give us your email address to learn more (call-to-action).

    Once I had a first pass of the page done, I wasn't happy with all the cards being the same, so I made the CTA card break out of the container and go full width, to really emphasise it, add a visual cue about the end of that 'flow', and provide some more eye-candy for that tasty gradient. With design it's important to take a break and do something else once you think you've hit a milestone -- give your brain and eyes a chance to refresh and come and see the piece as something 'new' again when you come back in 20-60 minutes. Once I came back I spaced cards out a bit more to give it a bit more air, but otherwise I was happy with the full look of the page.

    I used Revue as somewhere to gather signups. Originally I was going to use Mailchimp but they require you to provide a postal address to display in a few places and I didn't really want to do that -- they say its part of CAN-SPAM regulations but there are tons of other list providers that don't require this so I dunno what's going on with that. I've worked with Revue before so I already knew it was super easy to just add a basic form element to the page and post it straight to Revue. I didn't add any fancy submission JS because I didn't think it was necessary, it just seemed like more work for little gain so I cut scope there.

    I bought a domain from Namecheap since I already have an account there and it's quick and easy to do and not too expensive. I host the page on Github Pages because again I am familiar with that tool and its very quick and easy to get set up. I had to wait a few minutes for the SSL certificate to get issued once I added the custom domain but that's it really. :)

    I did some quick cross-browser testing with CrossBrowserTesting.com or something like that, particularly because iOS Safari is a fucking nightmare from hell but unfortunately very popular.

    And I think that's it :) Happy to answer any questions :)

    3 votes
  9. Comment on Trio | Social video optimized for threes in ~tech

    wcerfgba
    Link Parent
    Thanks for the super detailed feedback. Regarding your meta-comment, I know what you mean that sometimes critique can come off sounding harsh, but I always try to look at the ideas someone is...

    Thanks for the super detailed feedback. Regarding your meta-comment, I know what you mean that sometimes critique can come off sounding harsh, but I always try to look at the ideas someone is putting forth and not get emotional about my ideas being 'attacked'. Plus I think adding a little preamble like you did is great for diffusing a problems like that before they form: it signals that you care about how I will receive your words and I really appreciate that. :)

    I'll admit that it is a little contrived, honestly I woke up the basic idea and thought it was 'cool' in the way that all of these gimmicky apps are kinda 'cool' and just decided to develop the idea a bit and spin up a landing page to see what people thought.

    I agree that the fundamental problem of group video calls isn't the number of participants but rather the underlying UX and tools involved in that: latency, low-res cameras, dodgy audio, and so on. Limiting a call to three people is supposed to help with that because it reduces the contention on that limited 'social bandwidth' of the call: if there's only two other people on the call, there is a much lower chance of failed interjections -- when the speaker changes to someone else -- because it's easier for my brain to subconsciously follow their body language more closely (only two feeds, can take up a lot of space on the screen), and because if person A has just finished talking, only myself or person B can interject -- so there is less contention for 'who gets to speak next' just by sheer numbers.

    It's not the best solution to the problem, but I think I am just interested in this area of design where constraints can help to solve a design or UX problem, something about successful solutions in that space is really appealing to me -- perhaps I am just a sucker for the 'gimmick factor'! :D

    I don't really follow your logic about breakouts and swaps being 'socially vicious', I would argue against that along the same lines that you say that good conversations are made by the participants and content: if you have groups of friends or contacts who are argumentative and don't like each other, then you are much more likely to have that problem of a bad conversation/call than if your friends are more chill.

    I would love to see a system that makes it easy to dip in and out of conversations and find calls that are interesting and promote moving around, I think that is another part of the problem-space which also needs exploring.

    6 votes
  10. Comment on Trio | Social video optimized for threes in ~tech

    wcerfgba
    Link Parent
    With Trio you can't do that, it's an intentional limit like how Twitter restricts you to 280 characters. You could have two 'trios' of two people going on and then swap -- you can change places...

    With Trio you can't do that, it's an intentional limit like how Twitter restricts you to 280 characters. You could have two 'trios' of two people going on and then swap -- you can change places with someone in the other trio so if you have a call with A and B and another call with C and D, A can ask C to swap and then the calls will be C and B on one call and A and D on the other. Otherwise you would have to use a different app. :)

    7 votes
  11. Comment on Trio | Social video optimized for threes in ~tech

    wcerfgba
    Link
    Hey y'all, I had an idea for this app this weekend so I put together a landing page to do some 'lean validation' and see if anyone's interested in the idea. :) Curious to hear your thoughts. :)

    Hey y'all, I had an idea for this app this weekend so I put together a landing page to do some 'lean validation' and see if anyone's interested in the idea. :) Curious to hear your thoughts. :)

    2 votes
  12. Comment on Organisations that do important/meaningful work? in ~life

    wcerfgba
    Link Parent
    Huh I never really thought about it! I suppose so. Still maybe useful for seeing what sectors are useful and interesting to you perhaps? They also discuss the tradeoff with earning to give -- if...

    Huh I never really thought about it! I suppose so. Still maybe useful for seeing what sectors are useful and interesting to you perhaps? They also discuss the tradeoff with earning to give -- if you're not super passionate about anything, maybe just maximise your earnings and try to give an increasing portion of your income to effective charities.

  13. Comment on Organisations that do important/meaningful work? in ~life

    wcerfgba
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    You might find 80,000 Hours useful :) I am a big fan of GiveDirectly, they are my go-to charity because they are efficient and transparent and their model is very simple.

    You might find 80,000 Hours useful :)

    I am a big fan of GiveDirectly, they are my go-to charity because they are efficient and transparent and their model is very simple.

    4 votes
  14. Comment on Looking for recommendations for half-hour shows in ~tv

    wcerfgba
    Link Parent
    I'd second this. I always say the same thing about Bojack: "it's a cartoon about a talking horse but it's the most real and human TV show I've ever seen". The heavy stuff is well balanced against...

    I'd second this. I always say the same thing about Bojack: "it's a cartoon about a talking horse but it's the most real and human TV show I've ever seen". The heavy stuff is well balanced against some hilarious gags so it's also a very funny show.

    1 vote
  15. Comment on What are some songs that tell LGBT narratives? in ~lgbt

  16. Comment on In queers we trust. All others pay cash - Jude Ellison Sady Doyle in ~misc

  17. Comment on In queers we trust. All others pay cash - Jude Ellison Sady Doyle in ~misc

    wcerfgba
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    Is Substack profitable or is the Pro policy (bringing certain writers on as paid) significantly propped up by (presumably VC) capital? Technologically speaking Substack doesn't seem to be...

    Is Substack profitable or is the Pro policy (bringing certain writers on as paid) significantly propped up by (presumably VC) capital? Technologically speaking Substack doesn't seem to be particularly complicated. This seems like an area that would be ripe for a platform cooperative: writers (and perhaps readers) jointly and equally owning the company as shareholders with voting rights (or involvement in some other system of governance), I imagine the only real constraint there is funding.

    3 votes