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Author Topic: What to do about social media corporations?  (Read 8973 times)

Pat

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Re: What to do about social media corporations?
« Reply #90 on: January 06, 2022, 10:15:42 AM »
It's a guy called Chris Allen.
....
I would suggest that this is the reason for things like the oppressive moderation on places like rpg.net, and it being so ideological.
Wow, you really brought it full circle. (Christopher Allen is one of the founders of Skotos, i.e. the owners of rpg.net.)

And I really doubt that conclusion. If it were true, then rpg.net's moderation would have become more oppressive and the site would have become more ideological as it increased in size, but that doesn't appear to be the case. It was wild and woolly at its peak, and then became more intolerant as it shrunk.

I think the fixation on a single number is a bit of a distraction. I do agree with the grooming aspects of speech, and that social networks become more difficult to manage as they scale in size. But I also think there are too many differences between an online "community" and a tightly-knit hunter-gather tribe in the Neolithic to port over the math. It also misses the advent of the city, which clearly developed a set of social norms to minimize and formalize interaction, and allowed humans to scale from villages of 100 to metropolises of 10,000,000. Online forums are even more distant, interacting solely by text.

Kyle Aaron

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Re: What to do about social media corporations?
« Reply #91 on: January 06, 2022, 06:55:11 PM »
Yes I agree we shouldn't be overly-focused on a few exact numbers, as tempting as that is. Nonetheless we can note patterns in behaviour.

As for rpg.net's moderation and other online forums and the like, I'd say that all this Dunbar's Number stuff is part of the explanation, but not all of it. No single factor is going to explain all of human behaviour.

As you note, when rpg.net was growing, they were fairly loose; as they shrank, they became more exclusionary. And that ties in with what we've discussed in another thread about civilisations and resource use: when a civilisation is increasing its effective use of resources, the leadership can afford to be generous. Thus the corn dole in the Roman Republic as it ran around conquering its neighbours, and Prussia's workplace injury schemes in the late 19th century, and various social welfare programmes across the West in the late 20th century.

Likewise, a growing forum has enough (human) resources to be generous and let people scrap amongst themselves a bit. If some of them get pissed off and leave, it doesn't matter, there are plenty more and they care about as much as McDs in the 1980s care about criticisms of their food as unhealthy.

But as an economy shrinks all those social welfare programmes get too much. The Romans spent so much on their military defending stuff they had no money left to spend on something worth defending. Plus they had to spend lots of money bribing the elites to keep them in line. They then wondered why the commoners sometimes welcomed the invaders. So the leaders disdained the commoners, became more authoritarian, and spent a lot of time fighting amongst themselves.

Likewise on a shrinking discussion forum, there'll be more fighting over getting a larger slice of a shrinking pie - in this case, influence on the direction of the forum. Of course, whatever you or I think of any particular ideology present in a forum, the fact of the matter is that designing it to appeal to only 10% (say) of the people - whichever 10% that might be - is going to shrink it further. Trying to appeal just to the Woke leads you to the same place trying to appeal just to players of RIFTS - you might have a period where you do fairly well, but eventually it'll fade and you'll disappear into obscurity.

But of course, there are other factors. The number of participants influences things, but also whether the number is growing or shrinking, and the wider cultural context, and then there are commercial considerations, and...

As a side note: for a few years I was a moderator on bodybuilding.com, which is to bodybuilding what rpg.net is to rpgs. They had a "Misc" subforum which was the 15-25yo male's version of Tangency, where they said a lot of really fucking stupid shit. It was just 15-25yo male living with his parents stupid shit rather than tertiary-educated office worker stupid shit.

At one point bb.com was huge, literally a hundred thousand posts a day. The moderators basically just knocked back spam and porn, that was it. As it shrank, they became more picky. The law also got involved. That guy Elliot Rodgers who was jealous that other guys were getting laid and spent a day murdering couples and women in California had an account there called "SupremeGentleman", and some poor bastard called "CandyJunkie" livestreamed his suicide with people posting "do it, phaggot." Now the Misc still exists, but it's hidden from public view.

Drama everywhere. Humans.
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Shrieking Banshee

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Re: What to do about social media corporations?
« Reply #92 on: January 06, 2022, 11:52:23 PM »
And that ties in with what we've discussed in another thread about civilisations and resource use: when a civilisation is increasing its effective use of resources.

Public attention and status are always finite resources. This I just disagree with because its a constantly stable pie.

Kyle Aaron

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Re: What to do about social media corporations?
« Reply #93 on: January 07, 2022, 07:06:05 PM »
Public attention and status are always finite resources. This I just disagree with because its a constantly stable pie.
Good point! But the ingredients can change. Being well-known and influential took a different path in 2000 than in 1900, or 1200. And some obscure people in 2019 suddenly started appearing on tv every day and affecting millions of people's lives in 2020.

I would just qualify it by saying that "the public" is rather a modern concept, and it's certainly an urban concept. I just finished reading The White Ship about Henry I and the Anarchy in England around 1200, and "the public" don't really feature as a factor. That's because most people lived in villages, and never went more than a day or two's travel from their village. Anyone coming from outside the village was coming to levy troops, demand taxes, or burn the place to the ground (including their own king, who might burn it so its resources wouldn't be available to some approaching rival).

Going from "stranger - danger!" to "oh look, another 2,223 people clicked "like" on the picture of my booty" is really a significant cultural shift.
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Shrieking Banshee

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Re: What to do about social media corporations?
« Reply #94 on: January 07, 2022, 07:32:49 PM »
Going from "stranger - danger!" to "oh look, another 2,223 people clicked "like" on the picture of my booty" is really a significant cultural shift.
But I don't think it really fully ties together into the pie idea. I know resources are finite and competition begins when they are strained and reached, but I feel this is more the experiment where the mouse was wired to recieve direct pleasure stimulus when it pushed a button so it starved to death pushing it in place of doing anything else.

I don't think the resource limit has been really reached both in terms of social and physical goods. But its more our primitive brains are designed to handle a wholly different set of circumstances and when we can 'hack' those circumstances, we get all screwy.

People aren't having replacement level children at all for instance. And many countries have a growing culture of people that just don't want to do anything and settle for being ultra low status part time workers, even in nations with effectively 0 social security like china.

Social media ties into that. It can replicate some surface level elements of interaction, without providing most of the real benefits of the real deal.

Kyle Aaron

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Re: What to do about social media corporations?
« Reply #95 on: January 07, 2022, 08:23:52 PM »
Well, historically if you were a lazy dropout you became a monk or something. That's something we often don't appreciate about earlier times. People being gay, transgender, asexual, lazy or whatever is not really anything new, and every society found something to do with them.

In 2021, if you're a heterosexual and ambitious woman, you can marry well, just as you could in 1221. But you can also build a career of your own, however while you'll have children, the number will be closer to 1 than 6, since to achieve your ambitions you can only have so many interruptions to your career.

But if you're an asexual and ambitious woman you go and study law and become a career woman - at most you might marry so your husband's status can help yours, but you won't have children. In 1221 you were a noblewoman who took up the veil and was immediately made abbess.

And of course societies have long had eunuchs and janisseries and childless academics and so on and so forth. I don't think the behaviour is anything new, it's just how that particular society allows that behaviour to be expressed.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2022, 08:33:57 PM by Kyle Aaron »
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Shrieking Banshee

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Re: What to do about social media corporations?
« Reply #96 on: January 07, 2022, 11:02:17 PM »
And of course societies have long had eunuchs and janisseries and childless academics and so on and so forth. I don't think the behaviour is anything new, it's just how that particular society allows that behaviour to be expressed.
I think your underplaying all these elements by a wide margin, and trying to lump it all into a past equivalent. I can get some of that, but to the extent your doing I think is wrong.

A Trireme and a Carrier are both warships, but they exist in radically different theatres of war with very different consequences.

Zelen

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Re: What to do about social media corporations?
« Reply #97 on: January 29, 2022, 01:59:08 PM »
The fact that there's something like 1000% increase in people identifying as LGBT within a time frame of less than 10 years is prima facie evidence that this isn't some revealed preference or organic phenomenon.

Kyle Aaron

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Re: What to do about social media corporations?
« Reply #98 on: January 29, 2022, 07:31:55 PM »
It originates in the US, the same as terms like "people of colour" and so on. There was a interesting article the other day by Shelby Steele, in which she said,

Quote
Whites need blacks they can save to prove their innocence of racism. Blacks must put themselves forward as victims the better to make their case for entitlements.

This is a corruption because it makes black suffering into a moral power to be wielded, rather than a condition to be overcome. This is the power that blacks discovered in the ’60s. It gained us a War on Poverty, affirmative action, school busing, public housing and so on. But it also seduced us into turning our identity into a virtual cult of victimization—as if our persecution was our eternal flame, the deepest truth of who we are, a tragic fate we trade on. After all, in an indifferent world, it may feel better to be the victim of a great historical injustice than a person left out of history when that injustice recedes.

Yet there is an elephant in the room. It is simply that we blacks aren’t much victimized any more. Today we are free to build a life that won’t be stunted by racial persecution. Today we are far more likely to encounter racial preferences than racial discrimination. Moreover, we live in a society that generally shows us goodwill—a society that has isolated racism as its most unforgivable sin.

This lack of victimization amounts to an “absence of malice” that profoundly threatens the victim-focused black identity. Who are we without the malice of racism? Can we be black without being victims?
Being in Australia and white, I can't speak to the assertion that blacks aren't victimised much any more. But whether they are or not, it's easy to see from America's cultural exports that being a victim is part of many blacks' identities, and blacks being victims is part of many whites' culture - so they can be saviours, even if all they do to "save" them is delete comments on Facebook or rpg.net.

So then you get comfortable middle class white kids who look at all that, and at some point shortly after adolescence realise that actually they are not that unique and special. "But perhaps if I were a victim then I could be special?" This led to that Rachel Dolezal pretending to be black, an act which even a decade later is considered insultingly - dare I say it? - transgressive, even though it was once an act of white liberalism written up in a book and widely-praised - Black Like Me.

Anyway, back to our angsty middle-class white kid. "Okay, so who are still victims? Well, gays are a bit, they get AIDS and people hate them... no, wait, it's not the 1980s anymore, and in fact they can even marry... which group can I become a member of who is at least a bit shunned by society and victimised?"

That's also why we get a bunch of lost Westerners running off to join radical Islamic groups - and they're more likely to be the ones turning up as terrorists, joining ISIS, etc. They have to prove something to themselves. They don't actually give a damn about Allah, they just like that victim-identity thing the radical Islamists have going on. It's also why a rising number of people claim to have been sexually assaulted.

Taking this back to social media: it's easier to bullshit people online than in person, and it's also easier to find fruit loops. In the old days if 1 in 1,000 people thought like you, you could go your whole life without meeting another one. Nowadays if it's 1 in 1 million you can organise a convention of 300 of you just in the United States, and your internet forum or Lamebook group will have 8,000 people commenting on it, and they'll tell you they know thousands of people like them, and before you know it there are 16,000 commenting. Then Oprah or Tucker mention you online and suddenly the fucking Huffington Post or Fox News are doing stories about you, blah blah.

Before you know it there's a midwestern university with a Chair of Fruit Loop studies, and of course it spreads out from the US and across the world online and in media.
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Fheredin

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Re: What to do about social media corporations?
« Reply #99 on: January 31, 2022, 01:02:55 PM »
And I really doubt that conclusion. If it were true, then rpg.net's moderation would have become more oppressive and the site would have become more ideological as it increased in size, but that doesn't appear to be the case. It was wild and woolly at its peak, and then became more intolerant as it shrunk.

Replying to a decently old post to make a point:

That general trend--wild and wooly to intolerant and small--is true of most Leftism in general over the past decade. I would say that about the mid-point of the Obama years, the majority of Left influencers abandoned the ideal of tolerance in favor of power-play, and one of the ways that played out was infiltrating social media.

I am quite curious about what decentralized/ censorship-proof social media will look like, and there are companies like Aave trying to do that. But frankly I prefer the old Forum model of pseudonymity and online personas to real names, if given a chance, Real names creates too much of an incentive to collate data and implement dystopian social credit systems a la China.

I think the best course of action is not to "do" anything in particular to social media, but to redesign classic web forums so they outcompete social media. Social media outcompeted forums back in the mid 2000s because they had superior monetization with economy of scale, user data, and ad volume. The best way to turn the tables is to give forums a way to out-monetize social media. Say, crypto token functionality instead of advertisement and selling user data.

Pat

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Re: What to do about social media corporations?
« Reply #100 on: January 31, 2022, 02:58:18 PM »
And I really doubt that conclusion. If it were true, then rpg.net's moderation would have become more oppressive and the site would have become more ideological as it increased in size, but that doesn't appear to be the case. It was wild and woolly at its peak, and then became more intolerant as it shrunk.

Replying to a decently old post to make a point:

That general trend--wild and wooly to intolerant and small--is true of most Leftism in general over the past decade. I would say that about the mid-point of the Obama years, the majority of Left influencers abandoned the ideal of tolerance in favor of power-play, and one of the ways that played out was infiltrating social media.

I am quite curious about what decentralized/ censorship-proof social media will look like, and there are companies like Aave trying to do that. But frankly I prefer the old Forum model of pseudonymity and online personas to real names, if given a chance, Real names creates too much of an incentive to collate data and implement dystopian social credit systems a la China.

I think the best course of action is not to "do" anything in particular to social media, but to redesign classic web forums so they outcompete social media. Social media outcompeted forums back in the mid 2000s because they had superior monetization with economy of scale, user data, and ad volume. The best way to turn the tables is to give forums a way to out-monetize social media. Say, crypto token functionality instead of advertisement and selling user data.
Don't think that's possible. Social media is primarily about the web of connections, which forums lack. It's also been the driver of their monetization, because those networks are tremendously lucrative via targeted advertising.

Fheredin

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Re: What to do about social media corporations?
« Reply #101 on: January 31, 2022, 03:54:25 PM »
And I really doubt that conclusion. If it were true, then rpg.net's moderation would have become more oppressive and the site would have become more ideological as it increased in size, but that doesn't appear to be the case. It was wild and woolly at its peak, and then became more intolerant as it shrunk.

Replying to a decently old post to make a point:

That general trend--wild and wooly to intolerant and small--is true of most Leftism in general over the past decade. I would say that about the mid-point of the Obama years, the majority of Left influencers abandoned the ideal of tolerance in favor of power-play, and one of the ways that played out was infiltrating social media.

I am quite curious about what decentralized/ censorship-proof social media will look like, and there are companies like Aave trying to do that. But frankly I prefer the old Forum model of pseudonymity and online personas to real names, if given a chance, Real names creates too much of an incentive to collate data and implement dystopian social credit systems a la China.

I think the best course of action is not to "do" anything in particular to social media, but to redesign classic web forums so they outcompete social media. Social media outcompeted forums back in the mid 2000s because they had superior monetization with economy of scale, user data, and ad volume. The best way to turn the tables is to give forums a way to out-monetize social media. Say, crypto token functionality instead of advertisement and selling user data.
Don't think that's possible. Social media is primarily about the web of connections, which forums lack. It's also been the driver of their monetization, because those networks are tremendously lucrative via targeted advertising.

Yes and no. Yes, networking was Facebook's original vision, but in practice it has moved much more into an advertisement platform which basically exists for its own sake, and has networking functionality for legacy purposes. Most people on my Friends list on FB are people I haven't seen in years, and what little FB activity I do have with people I interact with IRL can often be done via email just as well, and often is for official purposes.

This argument also doesn't apply to Reddit or Twitter, either, which are pseudononymous.

Pat

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Re: What to do about social media corporations?
« Reply #102 on: January 31, 2022, 04:17:05 PM »
And I really doubt that conclusion. If it were true, then rpg.net's moderation would have become more oppressive and the site would have become more ideological as it increased in size, but that doesn't appear to be the case. It was wild and woolly at its peak, and then became more intolerant as it shrunk.

Replying to a decently old post to make a point:

That general trend--wild and wooly to intolerant and small--is true of most Leftism in general over the past decade. I would say that about the mid-point of the Obama years, the majority of Left influencers abandoned the ideal of tolerance in favor of power-play, and one of the ways that played out was infiltrating social media.

I am quite curious about what decentralized/ censorship-proof social media will look like, and there are companies like Aave trying to do that. But frankly I prefer the old Forum model of pseudonymity and online personas to real names, if given a chance, Real names creates too much of an incentive to collate data and implement dystopian social credit systems a la China.

I think the best course of action is not to "do" anything in particular to social media, but to redesign classic web forums so they outcompete social media. Social media outcompeted forums back in the mid 2000s because they had superior monetization with economy of scale, user data, and ad volume. The best way to turn the tables is to give forums a way to out-monetize social media. Say, crypto token functionality instead of advertisement and selling user data.
Don't think that's possible. Social media is primarily about the web of connections, which forums lack. It's also been the driver of their monetization, because those networks are tremendously lucrative via targeted advertising.

Yes and no. Yes, networking was Facebook's original vision, but in practice it has moved much more into an advertisement platform which basically exists for its own sake, and has networking functionality for legacy purposes. Most people on my Friends list on FB are people I haven't seen in years, and what little FB activity I do have with people I interact with IRL can often be done via email just as well, and often is for official purposes.

This argument also doesn't apply to Reddit or Twitter, either, which are pseudononymous.
Facebook's advertising is entirely driven by the relationship network. It's all about who likes who and who friends who. I wouldn't necessarily recommend the book because it feels like a romance novelist wrote a technical book, but it's covered in detail in Zuboff's Surveillance Capitalism.

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Re: What to do about social media corporations?
« Reply #103 on: February 01, 2022, 03:25:58 PM »
Well, it would take self-control and sacrifice, even some courage, things the 92% LACKS, but here's an idea- stay away from them. Keep your kids away from them. Just like anyone whining about the woke needs stop giving money to Hollywood and cable.

This person is convinced social media gets a lot of money supplying mobs on demand. Leftist mobs. So why the hell do the 92% keep using them?