Just going to shill my co-op Autonomic here apologies, but we’ve had a lot of success with Fediverse alternatives with some of our clients:
We offer hosting of all your fav apps such as Mastodon, Pixelfed, PeerTube with integrations and friendly support. Drop us a line if you or your org want to get off the hellsite and start federating towards a better world (without billionaires).
tbh it’s probably for the best in terms of twitter as a trading organisation/world utility. I’ve been doing a bit of research into the ai jobs market and it’s quite fascinating to find all of the ‘social media evaluation’ jobs out there that get outsourced to different parts of the world, valued at $0.05-7 a successful click.
Obviously all of the clicks are determined by the person who wrote the guidelines of the program, so then whoever controls the instruction manual controls public discourse on facebook/twitter/apple channels/microsoft etc. You can find microsoft’s jobs board here: UHRS and there are several other platforms that make up these ‘algorithms’, which is basically distributed to poorer countries to trap them in oppressive conditions of labour.
So then if Musk does exactly what he says he’ll do and get rid of all of the needs to censor discourse, then all of these folks won’t have to get trapped in oppressive labour conditions. Because if you disagree with the rating system, you get locked out of the platform with no right to appeal. Not very moral.
I made $11 on these platforms to try them out, and they’re full of jobs to rank facts, censor opinion and indeed determine the ‘truth’ of discourse, which goes against any form of celebration of freedom.It should work that if you don’t like one particular opinion, you are free to turn off the computer, or block that particular opinion from your field of vision. Allowing censorship is the first sign of any form of tyranny in all of the literature provided to us over time.
So I wish Elon very well in his endeavours! Once all the ethical alternatives catch up to making a platform suitable for mass adoption, then they can defeat twitter on the battleground of ideas, but this is in theory a good first step (if he does what he says he’ll do).
Seeing someone wishing elon musk “very well in his endeavours” on a workers co-op forum Musk can suck it. Fuck billionaries, get it right!
‘right’ is subjective to you … if you wanted to engage in a proper conversation I’ve made points in the previous reply that you could engage with, if you feel up to the challenge.
If Elon Musk gets rid of corporate censorship in public discourse, then I wish him very well in his endeavours. If the conversation is about ‘twitter’ and ‘the state it’s in’, then I can’t quite see how the new management is worse than the old? Perhaps you could elaborate outside of ‘billionaires bad’?
(then perhaps we could come to some form of synthesis in dialogue that may provide interesting ideas for the theoretical decentralised alternative to make a product that could displace twitter’s market dominance. Or not. ball in your court etc)
Just came across this filter-bubble explorer,
Also read this cartoon this morning
@decentral1se hasn’t yet responded. No doubt very busy. Whilst I can understand the rationale for celebrating the possible release of low paid gig workers from the torture of Twitter content mediation tasks (oh the irony of the reality of all this hi-end AI mythology), it seems to me that – despite the clearly important issues there of labour rights and decent work – there are other concerns that also warrant attention.
The social harms caused by content on these platforms is increasingly evident. Balanced against the possible removal of corporate censorship surely we should also take into consideration the likely increase in dangerous misinformation and hateful content, and the impact of that on our increasingly fragile societies and economies. I’m no advocate for censorship, but I would argue that we are in no shape as a society to be able to cope well with the unending flow of misinformation that has already caused so much harm.
All of this of course is aside from the gross inequality evidenced by the fact that a single human can wield so much economic power so quickly, well beyond the checks and balances of any democratic institution. Musk may have many attributes, but I don’t count wisdom among them: his own infantile behaviour on Twitter seems clear evidence of that.
If censorship is tyranny, then Musk is certainly a tyrant of the digital age.
Yeah but I suppose the issue is in how you decide who can be the censor. It’s why I imply that I support Musk if he does what he says he’ll do, rather than the concept of Musk (eg meet the new boss, same as the old boss - unless he does his job) If you don’t like particular content you can always close the computer or go on a different website.
I would wager that the social harms of having an elite group of people controlling what can and cannot be said is far more damaging than opening it up for people to make their own decisions.
I could also craft a very convincing argument that the censorship of internet town squares like twitter is the root cause of increasingly fragile societies and economies.
That’s not to say that Musk is or isn’t a tyrant. But I think an existentially bored billionaire is on balance better for the general discourse than a over promoted corporate executive engaged in absurd groupthink.
In practice, the decision as to who can be the censor will be taken by Musk and his people, under various pressures from governments, from advertisers, and from other forces who may have leverage (i.e an elite group, as you call it). So despite his assertion that there will be no censor I’m struggling to see that happening in practice, and so if there is to be censorship then it should at least be under some form of democratic governance rather than the above mess.
In terms of your proposed convincing argument I’m all ears, although I’m not sure I’ll have time to read it before the next far right populist comes to power . The majority of internet town squares have never faced any significant censorship or regulation. Governments have been wringing their hands over the problem since day one and largely failed to act.
Having said that of course it’s a slippery slope into a dark place and to be avoided wherever possible. But at the same time I fear that we’ve had a lot (all?) of the resilience stripped out of our communities by decades of neoliberal extractive abuse, to the point where the people in those communities are already in a pretty dark place (and getting darker and colder by the day), such that from where they are standing Qanon/Farage-Johnson/islamophobia/etc all looks entirely sensible, and even appealing.
So in truth for me the argument isn’t about whether having Musk’s hand on the wheel is better or worse that what went before. Both options are appalling.
It’s not theoretical! We can do it today, I recently set up a mastodon (well, hometown) instance for my city (Bath, UK) as a co-operative, would be great to inspire more cities/regions to do such a thing…
And using co-op cloud to manage the server (I went with cheapo option for the server though, sorry!).
Meta site: https://about.bath.social
Initial framing presentation: bath.social
It’s a great moment to do it, and would be very happy to chat about it, etc…
(I won’t say it’s taken off like something that takes off really quickly, but there is some activity there!)
Great stuff, Nick. I don’t know if you are in touch with https://bathcooperatives.org but they may be interested in this.
Thanks! and yes, I’m a member of Bath Co-operative Alliance
Yeah, I suppose I wager that if Musk can just buy twitter for cash then he doesn’t need to appeal to advertisers n all of that, which is a good thing.
Fragile societies and economies…because if people cannot handle ideas on the internet and need protection then they are by default fragile, and history doesn’t tend to be written by the fragile. If an idea is bad it would get defeated in public debate. If ideas become censored they become cool and get traded underground, even if they are bad ideas (as they are ‘the rebellion’), a bit like drugs. I suspect that the scale of internet censorship is largely hidden from view (they’re called fact checkers), and I suppose the only satisfactory solution is to get rid of internet town squares all together and return to a physical town square.
Obviously the tech is easy to spoof, but there is a reason why Trump’s Truth Social has been getting downloads, very likely to do with the governance of the platform, and if the views displayed on that forum are deemed ‘problematic’ in advance of engaging in debate to prove that your own ideas are better, then this identifies the root cause of division in society. So then if there is to be a twitter, best have it as open as possible rather than controlled by the thought police. If Musk becomes the thought police, then down with Musk.
I suspect if people ‘from the communities’ are ‘in a dark place’, it’s likely to do with condescending, top down centralised governance that does it’s best to curtail people’s freedoms under the guise of being good. (eg my local Labour council deciding to shut roads and bridges without any consultation, a bit dictatorial for me that, they certainly won’t be getting my vote).
RE: Mastodon, I respect that it’s a good platform that’s been around for a while, but seeing as it’s been available for years and hasn’t really had any influence over popular culture I’m sure there’s room for constructive criticism in how it markets itself to the general public.
I find it quite hard to understand what your model of social media is? From what I can understand you would see Twitter as kind of a global public space? And that it should hold all ideas/perspectives? Kind of like speech itself (anyone can literally say anything they want with their biological voice, and that Twitter is kind of like an online version of that)? And that therefore if you restrict something on there it is akin to putting tape over somebodies mouth? Thus violating a really basic freedom?
I would be curious to know if that description resonates at all with your understanding.
My sense of social media is that it’s more like the conversations I have with people in person (relatively small network of people I have some connection with), but an online version, and maybe a bit wider because of that, but I’m not intending to have a conversation with the entire world (that concept seems very odd to me).
Personally I’m extremely uninterested in “influence over popular culture” from my social media usage. I had a really nice/interesting experience on mastodon in the last few years. That’s my measure of “success”.
I think not being able to “handle” something is very normal. Having emotions, traumas, and being able to feel them is what I understand as part of the healing of those things. Like they are little signposts that there is something interesting there to work on. But that needs to be done if/when people feel safe to do so, not in a hostile environment where people are expected to just “handle” (aka repress? suppress?) that stuff.
My sense is actually people who don’t explore those parts of themselves end up very fragile, because if/when that hardened shell cracks, it’s quite a mess! (and might hurt a lot of other people). Joanna Macy’s Work That Reconnects says:
In owning and honoring our pain for the world, and daring to experience it, we learn the true meaning of compassion: to “suffer with.” We begin to know the immensity of our heart-mind. What had isolated us in private anguish now opens outward and delivers us into the wider reaches of our inter-existence.
Or as Kahlil Gibran said:
Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.
What I really like about mastodon (and other fediverse stuff) is that it opens up some possibilities to create really nice caring communities - like people do in the physical world. Ones where we can relate to each other.
Is it not a global public space? That’s what it markets itself as, anyhow. Yes - if you censor speech you create hierarchies. Humans are inherently good and it’s usually negative forces that cause narrative divisions in our common day to day existence. The Guardian being a good example of one negative force (as a thought exercise read their front page and note how every headline is written to be negative and ruin your day).
I think it’s great that you have a social media solution that satisfies your requirements for a social media platform. I also think it would be great that on the site that purports to be a public town square, that discourse be free and open, and if people feel the need to create enclosed safe spaces, that they can do that freely and with hearty support, but not to the detriment of the general discourse.
I don’t really get the Macy quote as I think it’s daft to equate existence with suffering and my general reaction to life being hard is to be harder (that’s a lyric from a band called God’s Hate, eloquent poets). It kind of then follows that ‘nice’ and ‘caring’ are subjectively defined words, and we all fall in with the crowds that best serve our own private definitions.
But what I really like about existence is that people with contrasting ideas can have an interesting conversation. As Evel Knievel said:
Anybody can jump a motorcycle. The trouble begins when you try to land it.
I’m wondering if it might at least be more interesting, if not more productive, to generalise a little from that minefield called “free speech” to the more general concept of freedom, which I suppose includes free action? No sane person I know would advocate for the freedom to kill other people when you feel like it. I do particularly like this:
What is a good containing framework for conversation so that it is generative rather than destructive?
I sense that there are many people inclined to believe that nothing good can come from a billionaire, which is understandable, if not actually true. Is a billionaire likely to set a framework that motivates generative conversation? Maybe not; is it possible for a billionaire to set such a framework? I cannot deny its possibility. Hence, to me, the position expressed by @simon.blakehouse seems valuable.
Of course it is indeed valuable. Hence my engagement in the conversation.
From my perspective there are three strands that need watching.
As Twitter is a privately-owned bureaucracy that operates a communication network, there are multiple levels where this can work well or fall over.
Do the owners of the bureaucracy block conversations that express political opinions that they disagree with?
Do the internal actors who operate, and, maintain the bureaucracy, block conversations that express political opinions that they disagree with?
Does the bureaucracy as a whole block conversations that are expressly aimed at changing that bureaucracy?
All of the conversations between users that take place within the communication medium will be governed, from a legal standpoint, by the local laws and jurisdictions that each individual user is in.
It’s the cross-over points where the interests of the bureaucracy clash with the “free speech” taking place on the communication medium run by that bureaucracy, that will be the main tests of whether it’s working well as a communication medium.
It would have been better if Twitter became a member-owned co-operative, but that’s something that we could work on.
This discussion was thought-provoking for me and I found it very worthwhile reading everyone’s points. I had a lot of thoughts:
When someone conjures an image of the State - of the ruling class - and they’re blocking my posts I feel vindicated against them as “tyrants against free speech”
When I imagine a space collectively organised to stop fascists from acting, imagining the success of such an effort makes me feel empowered
It’s worth reflecting on what people are trying to achieve in their speech. On Twitter and in competitive contexts, I think people are often trying to craft an image of themselves which other people like. It’s something that we do anyway but we’re rarely able to measure in likes and retweets. This to a great extent hinders the “freedom” of their speech?
The philosophy in Twitter’s design (e.g. of likes, of individuals like islands in one global sea) should be brought under the microscope. Mastodon makes only small changes to this (e.g. by allowing people to choose their communities), and even then creates a radically different experience to people who use it
The federated nature of Mastodon means that we can build into the fediverse other designs - which a friend of mine is doing around the idea of Heterarchy
Mastodon has its’ own centralisation problems
Speakers are sometimes trying to manipulate the listener or cause them harm
Some communication I would view as malicious, like when people are trying to recruit you into a cult or into a gang. I wouldn’t advocate platforming fascism outside of ex-fascists rehabilitating current fascists into ex-fascists
Listeners are often preoccupied in trying to categorise what is being said - which sometimes results in them staging a debate. The algorithm gets involved and it’s like a competition on who can have the loudest voice. The opinions often aren’t very nuanced, they can become polarised and lowest-common-denominator
I think that in “mutual” communication people are trying to express a need and have it met, while the listener is trying to hear this need and anything else which they might find fulfilling. The competition for the one “global” space might be the primary factor causing people on Twitter to be bad at this, because I’ve seen a lot of compassionate communication on Mastodon where this competition doesn’t exist. That said - it’s true that Mastodon is much less popular, so it’s hard to tell. Without popularity then maybe nobody would care what someone tweeted. Many articles talking about what someone tweeted invoke more scandal than they would if someone had posted it online somewhere else. “They said that? But not in the arena, surely?! We told them already, the arena is ours!”