@shriramk I'm surprised that "Jack Dorsey has something new to show you" is eliciting anything other than universal dread and disinterest. About 80% sure it's just an artifact of the Silicon Valley media clique.

@shriramk *shrug* I haven't noticed anyone move yet but I also don't take this very seriously and am kinda too ambivalent about social media to want anything to be very successful. I like that mastodon is small and crappy and janky and full of prickly weirdos. I think the future is in private chats and private servers tbh.


@shriramk Interesting! I think twitter was a significant net negative in my life. And more so the world in general. I'd far prefer it just quietly implode and not be replicated. Almost every virtual space I've seen in my life has had healthier dynamics. God, even usenet. Which is saying something.

@sayrer @shriramk Hundreds? Huh. I'm struggling to think of more than a few myself. Most people I interacted with there I either already knew or quickly moved to block / disengage with because the conversation dynamics were so awful.

In terms of "tech can be good or evil" IME this is most often deployed as an excuse for tech with a bias towards evil. Which lots of tech does. Most tech has strong bias about how it's designed to be used and pretending otherwise is erasing both the intent and skill of the designers. By all accounts Twitter did exactly what it was intended to do.

@sayrer @shriramk Ok. I mean I know lots of people found some community and value there. I'm especially sympathetic to its use in organizing political struggles and marginalized groups. I'm curious what'll replace it. I just .. hope It has a very different shape.

@shriramk @graydon @sayrer Yeah, I feel like my twitter experiences were mostly positive, and I ended up having a surprising number of useful technical conversations. I learned a lot!

And, of course, Twitter is an amazing way to learn about the world. All the virologists, economists, journalists, political scientists, social scientists that I got to follow on Twitter were an amazing source of knowledge.

But, yeah, the fact that some folk have good experiences doesn't mean that all-in it's a positive thing.

But I do miss what it was in my narrow slice of it.

@shriramk @sayrer I mean I'm not going to blame other people there -- twitter as a set of communication affordances, policies and design choices brought out my worst parts too. I found myself unable to avoid interactions where I got angry at people I didn't know, about things I didn't really care about. As far as I could tell the entire goal of the platform was to get people snitty, and it did that to me very effectively.

@graydon @shriramk @sayrer Maybe the reasons are obvious (smaller pool, self-selection bias, …), but I haven’t yet had on Mastodon one of those terrible Twitter nights where seeing one “I can’t believe this guy said this” leads to an infinite rabbit hole of clicking.

@adrian @graydon @shriramk @sayrer A more likely reason:
Twitter was very carefully architected to be this way "to drive engagement".
On Mastodon, that's simply not a thing to optimize for.

@sayrer @soc @adrian @shriramk I think there's some criticism warranted around "the algorithm" optimizing for "engagement" == "anger", but that's not my main complaint with the platform.

Mainly it's just the long list of obvious and absent user-control features people asked for constantly (reply and retweet limiting or screening, per-post privacy or scope limiting, search-inclusion limiting, friend-of-friend thresholds, follower screening), the absence of which collectively amounted to a design purpose: "twitter is for users to get in out-of-control fights with strangers and/or perform or be subjected to epic dunks all day".

(Mastodon only provides about half these obvious user-control features, in a mix of standard deluded free software libertarian philosophy and imitative dedication to reproducing twitter-isms, but it's better than nothing. Not better than, for example, basic shit that livejournal figured out 20 years ago, but better than nothing.)

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A Mastodon instance for programming language theorists and mathematicians. Or just anyone who wants to hang out.