Future of social media - Random

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TheMatten

@Sridhar Ratnakumar you've mentioned this topic over at FP Slack in relation to decentralization - I wonder, do you think we'll see the current designs transformed into decentralized form or something completely different?

Sridhar Ratnakumar

Censorship (esp. government driven, but also vocal group driven) is a big problem in social media. Even Twitter is investing in a decentralized future: https://twitter.com/jack/status/1204766078468911106?lang=en

So yes, I do think the future of social media will be going in that direction. Gradually at the least.

Sridhar Ratnakumar

... and, in regards to my post in Slack, this is just one of the domains I'd personally be interested in spending full-time working on.

TheMatten

Doesn't avoidance of censorship using decentralization imply fragmentation of users into sort of "tribes" with specific values? I guess in lack of enforced censorship, people will still end up wanting to filter content they see in some way, and well, it seems like people on the internet are much more polarized these days

TheMatten

So maybe we'll see people split into smaller groups, maybe with only content creators reaching bigger number of users?

TheMatten

E.g. compare this Zulip instance with something like /r/all on Reddit

Sridhar Ratnakumar

I think it certainly will resemble "multiple tribes" of the past at the outset (compared to one big Tribe dictating what's allowed) - however, I hope the resemblance stops at some key way ... especially as humanity has known to have progressed in many front (less violence, less tribalistic thinking, more intelligent consideration, etc.) in the last decades/years.

Unlike physical tribes, there would have to be a bit of fludity to 'virtual tribes' - as it were, so the potential for connetion, reappraisal, and opportunities for coming across new views would still have to be high, inasmuch as internet enables it.

So perhaps, we will have a loosely-defined and dynamic "network" of strongly-defined and static "ecosystems". The dynamism of the 'outter' network is perhaps what will differentiate this from the old tribal model.

//end braindump

Torsten Schmits

is Mastodon not an example of what you're talking about?

Sridhar Ratnakumar

In short, I think 'decentralized tribes' would be more fluid than 'physical tribes'. Having potential to integrate/disintegrate/blend based on new information.

Sridhar Ratnakumar

Mastodon instance servers can block other instances (such that members in the blocked instances will not be discoverable or even followeable to the members of the instance whose admin did the blocking). This has happened.

TheMatten

Sridhar Ratnakumar said:

... especially as humanity has known to have progressed in many front (less violence, less tribalistic thinking, more intelligent consideration, etc.) in the last decades/years.

Sometimes I wonder whether people simply haven't shifted their focus to less "influential" tribes - when you think about sports, brands, or e.g. PL communities... :big_smile:

Sridhar Ratnakumar

The core tribal "affective program" -- along with the other atavistic instinctual patterns -- will continue to remain (unless one becomes actually free) ... but at the same, they are also becoming less relevant/ less relied upon - owing to our neocortex (intelligence) increasingly being allowed to dictate our behaviour/actions/choices in life.

Sridhar Ratnakumar

... which is indicated by current era's less violence (cf. Steven Pinker) and increased individualism.

This is the current revision of this page, as edited by Weidorje (talk | contribs) at 09:09, 1 January 2021 (→‎Human cognition and natural language: Disambiguation by request - the hypothesized faculties genetically, not memetically adaptive). The present address (URL) is a permanent link to this version.
TheMatten

Sridhar Ratnakumar said:

... which is indicated by current era's less violence

Compared to situation e.g. 1000 years ago, there seems to be a big difference, but is it true in maybe last 100 years? Or is it that we're in a sort of spiral between more and less peaceful periods?

Sridhar Ratnakumar

Not sure; I haven't read the data closely enough to answer that.

Sridhar Ratnakumar

Compared to last few years, this year at least in America did see increase in violence (cf. New York police posted their crime stats), but that's just short-term change.

TheMatten

Sometimes I wonder how different current situation in many countries really is compared to e.g. pre-II.-WW Germany - people frustrated with current situation voting for vocal leaders with strong, simple but often false propaganda
Or basicaly-dictators strengthening their position in previously "democratic" countries

Fintan Halpenny

Censorship is a weapon against tribes as well. For example, GitHub having to stop Iranian accounts because of GitHub bring based in the US and following government policy (whether forced or not)

Fintan Halpenny

We all have our tribes regardless. We're in an FP zulip and an FP slack after all :sweat_smile:

Fintan Halpenny

And even those two platforms can be considered tribes in a way. As we humans we just tend to build social constructs around us and flocking to like minded people is one way of doing that [citation needed] :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

Sridhar Ratnakumar

Inter-tribal wars are less serious in certain classes of tribes. Vim-vs-emacs for example ...

Sridhar Ratnakumar

Some tribes are big and popular (Go), whereas some are scorned upon (Haskell)

Sridhar Ratnakumar

In the end, tech tribes are relatively mellow compared to what goes on outside (esp. politics & religion)

Sridhar Ratnakumar

(Also, there is the larger tribe of tech itself. Supertribe)

Sridhar Ratnakumar

Element.io chips in

image.png

https://element.io/blog/2021-escalated-quickly/

Element is a secure group video messenger app with advanced group chat privacy settings, team communication and productivity features while working from home using Matrix open network. Collaboration with strong end-to-end encryption. Group messenger Riot.im is now Element
The first week of 2021 has sped the adoption of decentralised real time communication.
Torsten Schmits

it's a bit contradictory to state "outside questions of illegality" when that is a rather valid argument for having had removed Trump even earlier

Sridhar Ratnakumar

I suggest keeping this topic/stream technical, and not let it become political.

Torsten Schmits

I don't see how you would discuss the "future of social media" without politics. I'd say that the single greatest reason for the tech industry and social media in particular being such a garbage fire is that people try to absolve themselves from the responsibilities that topics like politics and ethics would impose on them

Sridhar Ratnakumar

Torsten Schmits said:

it's a bit contradictory to state "outside questions of illegality" when that is a rather valid argument for having had removed Trump even earlier

Considering Trump's actions to be "illegal" is a controversial opinion, and not an established legal fact (see the attorney Jonathan Turley's recent articles). If it was a fact, we can see the relevance here (inasmuch as social media, centralized or not, must follow legal laws) - but because it is not, this is veering into unnecessary identity politics, which I hope this Zulip community of functional programmers will nip in the bud from the beginning, so as to keep this place amicable.

Torsten Schmits

twitter usually doesn't wait for a judge's opinion to enact a ban due to legal issues, so I don't see how this is any different

Sridhar Ratnakumar

I don't think Twitter (and Facebook) in its current state is all that interesting to the future of social media, otherwise we wouldn't even be discussing this topic. People are dissatisfied with the centralized control over censorship. I think the future efforts will give this control back to individual users - giving them control over what they see (or do not want to see). Matrix's reputation system seems to be getting there ...

Not only are UK/US/AU/NZ/CA/IN/JP considering mandating backdoors, but it turns out that the Council of the European Union is working on it too, having created an advanced Draft Council Resolution on Encryption as of Nov 6th, which could be approved by the Council as early as Nov 25th if it passes approval. This doesn't directly translate into EU legislation, but would set the direction for subsequent EU policy.
Torsten Schmits

interesting, I've thought about this concept a lot

Sridhar Ratnakumar

It could be similar to adblock filter lists. A bunch of shared blocklists (users, tribes, communities blocked) - that each user can voluntarily adopt, without any central party enforcing it.

Torsten Schmits

I started to think about this web-of-trust method for social media first from the perspective of verifying how likely a person is to be who they claim, and then to trace information, like news, back to the origin, with a kind of trust value assigned to it

Torsten Schmits

though I thought about it with a focus on being separate from actual social media networks, as a layer on top

Torsten Schmits

but that "visualisation of the bubble" thing they mention was on my list

Sridhar Ratnakumar

Sridhar Ratnakumar said:

In short, I think 'decentralized tribes' would be more fluid than 'physical tribes'. Having potential to integrate/disintegrate/blend based on new information.

"To prevent users getting trapped in a factional filter bubble of their own devising, we’ll provide UI to visualise and warn about the extent of their filtering - and make it easy and fun to shift their viewpoint as needed." ... hopefully facilitating the 'fluid tribes' mentioned above.

Torsten Schmits

I would like something that displays the bias of the bubble compared to some sort of global average

Sridhar Ratnakumar

Some discussion about this involving a Matrix project lead (Arathorn) here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=24826951

Torsten Schmits

great, the first response is already about weapons and the fear of being ostracized over (probably reactionary) opinions

Torsten Schmits

probably a safe bet that these kinds of people will feel the greatest impact of a feature like this (which is likely part of the intention), so is that a good thing? I would tend to yes, because a huge problem on communities like twitter are death and rape threats by reactionaries, but on the other hand, this may facilitate isolated tribes

Sridhar Ratnakumar

Somewhat related: both Signal and Telegram have seen an uptick lately. Even in India.

Signal is now on the number one position on App Store in India and on the number three position on Google Play.
Sridhar Ratnakumar

(Several of my family members from India have started using Signal, as well)

Sridhar Ratnakumar

Whatsapp is pretty popular in India.

Sridhar Ratnakumar

The last time I tried introducing Signal, they didn't care.

Torsten Schmits

https://twitter.com/MrOlmos/status/1348936915517464576

voicing concerns about fragmentation

Sridhar Ratnakumar

This sort of "far-right", etc. ideologically-motivated labeling reeks of the ugly Scala drama (wherein people labelled their fellow programmers, such as John de Goes, as "nazi"). We should strive not bring any of these far-right/far-left politics in here. IMHO. It is very divisive.

Sridhar Ratnakumar

It would be most productive for conversations to focus on "Okay, I don't personally like this group of people; how do I protect myself from them, when using $social-network?". This way, subjective preferences of certain groups of people are not forced upon others.

Torsten Schmits

I couldn't possibly find a better real-world analogy to this attitude than what happened at github:

https://outline.com/Mn7BCV

Sridhar Ratnakumar

It is a close example.

This is why I favour No politics rule at work (and ideally at all tech spheres), which Google has sensibly adopted.

I agree that casual accusations like calling a huge group of people as "Nazis" (no matter how well-intentioned, as in "wanted to warn people to be careful") is disrespectful, not to mention divisive, because these accusations come not from a position of factual appraisal but from strong ideological affiliation. From the story, "A coworker was quick to criticize the employee for using divisive rhetoric, igniting a firestorm of internal debate, with many jumping in to take sides" ... this is where things seemed to have gotten heated at GitHub. Without seeing the exact debate that unfolded, it is difficult to evaluate fully what happened here. But I believe that a simple "Hey, can we not make political statements (implying that someone is a "nazi" is one) here? Thanks" would have avoided the entire thing. At GitHub, that didn't seemed to happen, and now some 200 people say they don't feel psychologically safe, attributing without evidence what they perceive to be their fellow coworkers' "anti-Semitism" and "white supremacy" (not to mention, it is very condescending of unassociated outside immigrants like myself who don't agree with American non-liberal progressive political views, based on CRT).

The company issued new guidelines in response to “a year of increased incivility on our internal platforms.”
Speaking up at work can be difficult. People worry that their boss or colleagues won’t like what they have to say. As a result, people hold back on everything from good ideas to great questions. But by fostering psychological safety, all employees can feel safe to speak up.
Nick Scheel

There were literally neo-Nazis at the capitol (NSC 131 to be specific – that stands for “Nationalist Social Club”, which is transparently a reference to National Socialists aka Nazis), it’s a fact apparent from several sources, and we do no one any favors by shirking away from calling it as it is. Certainly not everyone there would identify as a neo-Nazi or necessarily believe in the same things, but neo-Nazis and holocaust deniers were part and parcel of the crowd, and I understand why Jews and other marginalized people felt concerned and unsafe because of their presence.

Sources (among others):

https://www.cnn.com/2021/01/09/us/capitol-hill-insurrection-extremist-flags-soh/index.html

https://www.jta.org/2021/01/07/united-states/hate-on-display-your-guide-to-the-symbols-and-signs-on-display-at-the-stop-the-count-insurrection

Flags, signs and symbols of racist, white supremacist and extremist groups were displayed along with Trump 2020 banners and American flags at Wednesday's riot at the US Capitol. We spoke to an expert to identify the symbols and understand the chilling messages of tyranny, white supremacy, anarchy, racism, anti-Semitism and hatred they portray.
Here’s what you need to know about them and the movements they represent.
Georgi Lyubenov // googleson78

I don't understand the "can we not make things political" stand - that's also a political statement/stand, just one in support of the status quo

Imagine n years ago, you're in a place where slavery is legal - you're working at some job with people who are slave owners, and this possibly even helps them in said job
You voice the opinion "I don't think owning slaves is a good thing to do". Would you still consider the answer "please don't make things political at our work place" an acceptable one to your concerns?

I think the same thing is happening nowadays, but with things that either are less easy to spot for being "ethically/morally wrong", or because society has not progressed past these things, as society had not progressed past slavery n years ago.

Concretely, at Google, I really do not understand how you could say "no politics allowed" and then go discussing how you're handling the insane quantities of user data that you're collecting, pretending that this has no "political" implications. (same for all social media companies)
To me, what Google actually means by "no politics" is - we don't care how morally bankrupt we are, let's just continue doing the thing that earns us the most money and use this "no politics" rule to nip any possible opposition before it's even born.

Georgi Lyubenov // googleson78

similarly, when it was the norm to be racist/sexist etc even at your workplace(1) and you were being discriminated(2) against because of that would you still be opposed to raising concerns about these things?

1 - and it even still is, I can for sure say this much for places in Bulgaria ^^, e.g. ~last years sexism scandal in Ubisoft Sofia - https://threader.app/thread/1275514044171067394
2 - even subconsciouly/implicitly, not explicitly saying "no sorry I'm not helping you because you're black/a woman"

So, I have something to share that has bothered me for a very very long time and I think a lot of people here need to hear, and that was my experience working for Ubisoft Sofia. It was my first game job in the industry. The amount of racism, homophobia and sexism I witnessed...
Torsten Schmits

Nick Scheel said:

There were literally neo-Nazis at the capitol

one should think that people sporting t-shirts with the inscription "six million jews weren't enough" should be a valid reason for a Jewish person to warn about nazis.
moreover, "there are nazis about" does not imply "everyone is a literal nazi".

Torsten Schmits

Georgi Lyubenov // googleson78 said:

I don't understand the "can we not make things political" stand - that's also a political statement/stand, just one in support of the status quo

I think it is important to call this by a concrete name – this is a radical centrist technocratic position that is highly oppressive towards marginalized groups based on economic hegemony.

Torsten Schmits

Georgi Lyubenov // googleson78 said:

To me, what Google actually means by "no politics" is - we don't care how morally bankrupt we are, let's just continue doing the thing that earns us the most money and use this "no politics" rule to nip any possible opposition before it's even born.

also they are doing that because of liability and image issues due to some reactionary creep having published a phrenological screed that abused statistics to make a point about how women are inferior

Torsten Schmits

Sridhar Ratnakumar said:

don't agree with American non-liberal progressive political views, based on CRT).

just like to highlight here for people not being familiar that Critical Race Theory is the position in US law theory that White Supremacy is inherent to American institutions and its laws (as being exemplified by the total absence of opposition that the heavily armed mob of white nationalists faced).
this is also one reason that the aforementioned John DeGoes was attempted to be canceled, with a massive protective backlash by major figures of the highly toxic Scala community.

Sridhar Ratnakumar

A large swaths of people including myself observed virtually all of the ugly Scala toxicity coming from Travis and his enablers. Critical Race Theory is a divisive ideology, not a fact.

I'm pretty sure most tech people (including most here) don't care about political discussions in tech spheres.

Here's a better definition of Critical Race Theory:

Critical race theory (CRT) is a scholarly and political approach to examining race that leads to a consequential analysis and profound understanding of racism. It argues, as a starting point, that the axis of American social life is fundamentally constructed in race. As a result, the economic, political, and historical relationships and arrangements that social actors have to institutions and social processes are all race based. CRT also argues that, as a whole, this idea has been purposefully ignored, subdued, and marginalized in both the dominant and public discourse and that there are serious repercussions that arise from this structural blindness (Mills, 1997, p. 153)…. One of the important tenets of CRT is the assertion that race is socially constructed, yet it denotes explicitly and implicitly how power is used and appropriated in society.

But to really appreciate the propaganda behind it, you have to read its analysis: https://newdiscourses.com/tftw-critical-race-theory/

This entry in 'Translations from the Wokish' is an explanation of the term "Critical Race Theory."
Sridhar Ratnakumar

@Nick Scheel Not to overlook the ugly aftermath in their internal chat followed by a political accusation (with no evidence) by some 200 employees of their fellow co-workers.

Sridhar Ratnakumar

It's hardly conductive to a civil working environment. Just don't bring your politics to your workplace.

Sridhar Ratnakumar

Also, CNN is garbage source. The accuracy of that article is highly questionable, and I'm not gonna waste my time fact-checking it.

Sridhar Ratnakumar

In general if you are giving a factual appraisal, you should stop citing mainstream media (which lies and twists facts, for instance by undermining the BLM and Antifa violence of 2020) and instead cite the primary source directly. What a supposed neo-Nazi said/did, for example.

Sridhar Ratnakumar

@Georgi Lyubenov // googleson78 Slavery was a real thing. Critical Race Theory (of which the 'systemic racism' hypothesis is a part of) is pseudo-academic bullshit, reminiscent of Nazi propaganda. https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/sowell-systemic-racism-is-a-lie-that-has-no-meaning-and-reminiscent-of-nazi-propaganda

Economist Thomas Sowell expressed the belief that the term “systemic racism” has “no meaning” and that it reminds him of Nazi Germany.
Sridhar Ratnakumar

In general if you are giving a factual appraisal, you should stop citing mainstream media (which lies and twists facts, for instance by undermining the BLM and Antifa violence of 2020)

For the antifa part, this is a good book: https://twitter.com/disclosetv/status/1349325020426887169

Nick Scheel

@Sridhar Ratnakumar my point in fact was not to put one source above the rest but to demonstrate that there were multiple sources reporting similar information. As far as primary sources, I’m not sure if the information was or would still be public on accounts connected with the group, and I wouldn’t want to link to those accounts anyways, but if you look at the second article you’ll see this tweet that says the picture was taken from their account: https://mobile.twitter.com/lilsarg/status/1346948663130648576

That might not satisfy you, but it is as close as we’re going to get to primary evidence and it satisfies me.

And as @Torsten Schmits said, all of this arguing over semantics over one group is moot when some of most widely circulated images of the capitol riot feature the slogans 6MWE “6 million [Jews] weren’t enough” and “Camp” Auschwitz “Arbeit macht frei / Work makes one free”. These are literal Nazi slogans, not associated with any other movement, chosen purposefully to refer to the Holocaust, and there is a lot of documentation that they appeared at the capitol that you can look up.

Sridhar Ratnakumar

Picture of a paper card, posted on 5:36 PM · Jan 6, 2021 (presumably well after the GitHub internal chat). But nothing else, eh?

Meanwhile, here are the facts from actual investigative journalism What Happened in DC on Jan. 6:

The other two men accompanying Angeli bear a resemblance to two people tied to neo-Nazism. One was involved in the Traditionalist Workers Party, a now-defunct national socialist group. It isn’t clear whether the pictures indeed show the same man. The other man has in the Capitol photo a visible tattoo on his hand that at first looks similar to a hammer and sickle, a communist symbol. On closer inspection, however, it seems the symbol is actually from a video game and doesn’t appear to be tied to any political group.

If you read the article, you'll hear more incidents from inside the Capitol riots about Antifa agitators and BLM activists (including Trump supporters calling them out) than neo-nazis, including one identified by the name of John Sullivan.

https://twitter.com/OrbitaEduardo/status/1347193007095894016

WASHINGTON—On Jan. 6, supporters of President Donald Trump gathered in the nation’s capital for a demonstration, called the ...
Sridhar Ratnakumar

And once again, let's not forget the 200 GitHub employees accusing, without evidence, their coworkers of being "anti-Semite" and "white nationalist". I can't emphasize enough how important it is, in regards to a civil society, not to overlook this kind of divisiveness in an otherwise meritocratic workplace.

Kampouse

I use minds a cross-facebook-twitter

Sridhar Ratnakumar

Interesting.

image.png

https://www.minds.com/content-policy

The goal of Minds is to have fair, transparent and ethical moderation practices