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'Irreconcilable Differences' by me

asininetech.com/2021/07/31/irr

My thoughts on the Mastodon iOS app and the frustrations within with a side of our long standing problems with Gargron.

@packetcat
I also wonder how the lack of education on how privacy settings on post works is going to open up new users to abuse. We have netiquette in the Fediverse so if new users at first only see it using the ios app then it could be argued gargon is risking an adverse view of the Fediverse if newbies get abused for posting on public setting etc.

@packetcat
We all have teething problems at first and that's where the local timeline and the community on there is important.

Newbies are often taught netiquette by the folks on their local instances.

@onepict @packetcat

plus the double standard with sponsors (casinos, essay writing services) is *really* bad. I'm no prude but these are *not* things you want to encourage teens/young adults to get involved in, they can have worse long term consequences than drugs.

And if they aren't posting openly on ms, I dread to think that their marketing teams could be sending DM's to prospective customers, that way leads to /big/ trouble with safeguarding authorities..

@vfrmedia @onepict @packetcat I wonder what scholar.social think about the sponsorship from essay writing sites

@vfrmedia @onepict @packetcat It's so weird, like if it was one gambling site, or one essay mill, or one sex site then you'd chalk it up to just the randomness of the internet

But a good percentage of sponsors are in those three categories - what are they getting in return?

@ak @onepict @packetcat

My concern (backed up with experiences moderating forums) is they will simply stalk the timelines for young people (using humans of similar age with good English skills in foreign countries with less regulation) and approach them via marketing DMs... (these sponsors would be quickly yeeted from a University Common Room environment IRL, and the Fediverse is very much like a large international version of one of these)

@ak
The potential of reaching the market, I feel it's no different from the current ad networks. The monetisation of potential views.
@vfrmedia @packetcat

@onepict @vfrmedia I get this essay writing dross in my university email account all the time, it invariably goes to spam and it is invariably in Chinese (this is machine translated within Gmail)

@ak @onepict

and I think you attend a University with a very large Chinese student base which is likely what these marketers are targeting...

@vfrmedia @onepict I don't really get it myself, I'm at university because I want to do the work, if I didn't want to do the work I'd be doing something else

Aside from that, the penalty for getting caught using a service like this is expulsion from the university (and if you're a foreign student, that also means you're out of the country) so it baffles me that anyone would want to use such sites

@ak @onepict

A lot of East/ SE Asian kids are forced into a University course they never /really/ wanted to do in the first place because its what their parents expect.

30 years ago I was one of them. Although I wouldn't have used such a service as even then you could get nicked for it and I was already pushing the boundaries enough with other stuff I was into at the time..

@vfrmedia
A lot of our generation were pressured to go to uni. I can only imagine the additional pressure for you from your parents. Like in Scotland it was seen as parents gave up stuff to get you to uni. I know my father was disappointed I didn't want to do a masters, but he didn't put pressure on me. I've heard about the extra pressure on East/South Asian kids from parents.
@ak

@onepict @ak

this is exactly why I find social networks plugging essay writing services etc particularly jarring, as its targeting vulnerable young people and setting up everyone for a lot of trouble.

A load of YouTubers got called out for doing this just a year or so ago, they had to remove all the adverts for such services..

@vfrmedia
There's always going to be the market for that, and as long as we fund our networks and services with ad revenue it will happen. At what point do we realise our coms are infrastructure like electricity and pay for it?
@ak

@onepict @ak

in this case it was YouTubers who had introduced these as sponsors; knowing that ads are soon blocked by the more clued up youngsters.

Maybe some hard decisions will have to be made and there are fewer "celebs" in future? At least with a traditional TV programme on computer games the producers must comply with the rules of Ofcom about what can and can't be advertised during the breaks (and sponsorship is strictly regulated to..)

@vfrmedia
Well with spammers all you need is a few hits of a response. A decade ago dentangle did a talk at techmeetup in Edinburgh about spam and backscatter and why spammers do what they do. youtu.be/fbYx9-dwM4Y Ad networks is kinda the same model.
@ak

@ak @vfrmedia @packetcat
I think the book I got at Christmas breaks it down : SUBPRIME ATTENTION CRISIS
Advertising and the Time Bomb at the Heart of the Internet by Tim Hwang. It's a short read. us.macmillan.com/books/9780374

@onepict @ak @vfrmedia @packetcat the monetization of potential views is everything that's wrong with the internet: the ultimate source of trolls/fascists/authoritarians and influencers.

@Gargron @ak @vfrmedia @onepict @packetcat you're advertising their services

putting a link is an endorsement, and your own form says that you won't accept sponsorships for these companies, yet there they are on the page

@Gargron @ak @vfrmedia @onepict @packetcat ...eugen, what do you think sponsorship means? what do you think they're getting in return?

they're getting the ongoing advertisement from associating themselves with your product!

that's the problem that people are objecting to!

@Gargron @vfrmedia @onepict @packetcat Who the fuck do you think you're talking to? You do NOT talk to me, or anyone, like that

Stick your Mastodon up your arse

@Gargron @vfrmedia @onepict @packetcat You can take your essay mills, and your casinos, and your dildo merchants, and your condescending attitude, and you can go and take a long walk off a short pier with the lot of them

You do not get to talk to me like I'm some kind of subordinate, you do not get to patronise or condescend or belittle me, you can sit there, and you can listen to me tell the truth about you, right to your face

You are an unpleasant, patronising, snivelling little nerd

@Gargron @vfrmedia @onepict @packetcat Now, go and sit somewhere quiet and think about your attitude, and do not address me again

@ak @vfrmedia @onepict @packetcat

I don't even know what he means by "checkout process." *Checkout* usually involves a literal purchase.

🤔

@xenophora @ak @onepict @packetcat

I guess its the checkout bit of the website when you pay for sponsorship; but by doing so he's openly admitted sponsors are *not* being vetted according to the claimed policy on the website which makes putting it there somewhat pointless..

Queries About .social for non-users 

@vfrmedia @ak @onepict @packetcat

Seems sadly typical of him, to be honest. Which makes me wonder (as I work my way through the original article): how exposed to these marketers are users of other instances, like myself? Are we equally vulnerable if we don't use these apps? (I would not, because I don't have a smartphone.) I suppose I should just go delete my .social account for good. It's already been shuttered for well over a year. :/

Queries About .social for non-users 

@xenophora @ak @onepict @packetcat

the marketers aren't wholly daft and for "older" users like us they are more likely to ask if we wanted to post "sponsored" toots, at least one of my mutuals has been approached for this (he politely refused, and immediately tooted about what was going on and found it more amusing than anything)..

Queries About .social for non-users 

@vfrmedia @ak @onepict @packetcat

Forgive me, but after reading the whole article, I'm still a bit confused as to how Gargron's unwanted changes affect other instances. Will the moderators of other instances be forced to reconfigure member experiences to be in line with how .social will be run? Thanks.

Queries About .social for non-users 

@xenophora @ak @onepict @packetcat

AFAIK they won't have to make any changes, but users who pick the "official" IOS app will find that the local and federated timelines are missing - which isn't ideal for smaller instances..

Queries About .social for non-users 

@vfrmedia @ak @onepict @packetcat

Yeah. That's dirty pool on his part. He complains about how big .social is (as if anything stopped him from having more/better mods) but now he doesn't want new users to readily find out that they have alternatives to Grand Central Station if they want. :/

Queries About .social for non-users 

@xenophora @ak @onepict @packetcat

a longer term concern I have is if things like essay mills, gambling, sex toys etc make more of an appearance on the Fediverse, its possible other instance users may even be forced to implement planned age/ ID verification schemes of the countries where the instance is hosted, and that just pisses in the soup for *everybody* (eg will a German instance accept verification of ID from a third country?)

Queries About .social for non-users 

@vfrmedia @ak @onepict @packetcat

I would not want ads on my TL at all. I don't care what they're selling. That's not what I come to Fedi for, & it's not comparable to an individual already in the community promoting their own work, or the work of another person who they admire.

I used to jokingly add "Not a paid endorsement" whenever I plugged a particular show or pol, etc. Now I guess I'll be forced to do that for real so people don't get the wrong idea.

@saper @onepict @packetcat

TBH I think the IOS app is a relatively minor issue (I don't have any IOS devices, and rarely use a mobile phone for the Fediverse anyway). The wider problems are all the other cans of worms that get (re)opened every time something like this happens....

@saper
I think the onboarding process is complex as it is. The strength of the Fediverse is in it's decentralized community. I want to invite my father onto the Fediverse, but I'd probably arrange an invite and explain the netiquette. I'd do that for anyone I knew who was curious. The Fediverse is more than a twitter clone. But if gargon wants to run his own that's up to him and his accounts on his instance can decide if they want to stay or go.
@vfrmedia @packetcat

@onepict

I told a lass at work (who is fairly open minded) about Mastodon and was 100% honest about it being a mixture of European/USA and Asian hackers, furries and LGBT+ folk, she was actively shocked and thought it was best avoided (to be fair she doesn't use Twitter either, only uses Facebook for family and work stuff and has had bad experiences on other social networks like Tumblr (to the point she stopped contributing there)

@saper @packetcat

@vfrmedia @onepict @saper @packetcat If you use the word hacker a lot of folk think it means those people who break into computers and steal everyone's ID

@ak

thing is she is one of the most tech-aware of my younger colleagues and knows the difference between "good" and "bad" hackers, and also very privacy aware. It might have been the furries that scared her off, although maybe more likely just "fear of the unknown"..

@onepict @saper @packetcat

@vfrmedia
It could also be bad experience. I took a break for a while. It definitely improved my mental health. At least with mastodon it feels like a cross between LJ tumblr and twitter. But at least I can fine tune how I want to interact with the world
@ak @saper @packetcat

@vfrmedia @ak @saper @packetcat
Don't also overestimate how even technical kids can be intimidated by different interfaces and how the community is shaped by them

@onepict

A lot of my monolingual friends are scared off by the timelines in multiple languages (one lad even was convinced I could read Japanese and Chinese, I can sometimes remember the character for "cat" due to the cat picture accounts but thats about it..) - ironically making it harder to use smaller instances (which are more likely to have a smaller subset of languages in use) only makes this worse..

@ak @saper @packetcat

@vfrmedia
Yeah Tumblr had it's own netiquette issues. Depending on the community there it could be pretty toxic. I had a fandom on there I followed and yeah it was a bit problematic. Not because of abuse, but there were the usual ego trips etc.
@saper @packetcat

@packetcat Everything you said in that post. Especially re local timelines, which to me is an essential part of the Masto experience.

Also, all of us that have been here since 2017/8, were newbies, and we picked up how to use the different timelines etc. It's not that hard, and I'm not a techie person. The idea that this is confusing all of a sudden to newbies is bollocks.

@packetcat great essay. Love how website man didn't reply to any of your points but did go and hop into someone's mentions in the replies of this toot :p

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