Twitter has users. Mainstream (Silicon Valley) tech and drug dealers are the only two groups to use that term to describe people. And they're both obsessed with manufacturing addiction and exploiting those people. Calling people users is a form of othering.
Let's do better.
Mastodon doesn't have users. Mastodon has people. Call them members if you must. But not users.
Twitter, Facebook, and Google have users. We have people.
If #Mastodon people think of themselves as members or as citizens then a common ownership can develop, people will have demands and a method of discerning needs and wants can then develop. I think all software projects (including opensource) have a problem with democracy – I am not sure it can even work.
@ZDP189 @jd @wxl @aral @gargron
This has always been the way online networks operated. whoever controls resources also has control over what they are used for. An old quotation commonly seen on Usenet was "Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one" (apparently written by a US journo in 20th century). At least Mastodon makes owning one more feasible (but still not trivial).
Perhaps Mastodon can work on automated migration and bring their network of follows and followers. The trick is members would have to move, not clone themselves.
@ZDP189 @jd @wxl @aral @gargron a few people have already done that (not for any bad motives, usually due to tech issues with their original instance) but have had to export and import the data manually. Currently the network is small enough they've been able to find their friends again but as it grows that could be more problematic.
@vfrmedia @jd @wxl @aral @Gargron exactly. Also imagine if someone with a big following like 200k accounts tried migrating and the system had to propagate the changes across all instances! The traffic alone would be crippling.
Members will just have to experiment with different instances, read reviews of instances and trust in the admins.
I wonder what will happen when instances max out. Few can afford the storage and traffic of a mature social network.
I foresee a time when certain instances become very exclusive, with a wait-list to get in and celebs and top content providers charge to bring their prestige.
I doubt if a network run on a shoestring with hobbyist level resources is going to be able to afford "celebs/top content providers influences" - or they would *want* them in the first place.
Right now, all the code is coming from one guy. Once the protocol is established, there's not much to stop instances implementing their own code. Different instances may eventually have different interfaces, with different features. At this point, who knows which instance will later prove to have been the best to have joined?
@ZDP189 @jd @wxl @aral @gargron this has already happened, some instances allow >500 chars toots , another tech example I have encountered (albeit one you defnitely try to conceal from end users) is differences in SIP protocol on VOIP telephones/endpoints & the servers they connect to. there is however a broad consensus on the *basic* features you expect from a VOIP phone (i.e voice calls, handsfree, caller ID etc)..
I agree broadly with one minor correction - at least with less harmful "party" drugs which are non addictive, lower to middle level drug dealers often enjoy the drugs themselves and are part of a "crew" or "posse" of "people". Many try *not* to sell contaminated or overly strong substances.
Police, health service workers do use the term "users" in the context of problematic use (but even they nowadays realise such folk are still people)
@cc @Gargron Can we care about both? :) One reflects upon the other and vice-versa. While I agree that formalism is a scourge, what I call you matters as it reflects on whether I respect you or not, whether I dehumanise you or not.
I agree that words alone do not matter. I agree that actions matter. I feel, however, that words do matter also and that they affect actions, whether to incite them, legitimise them, temper/prevent them, etc.
@aral @gargron Words exist and they serve a purpose, but the problem is the value and importance that is placed on words.
I try my best not to use offensive words in a derogatory way. However, how am I supposed to be aware of every single word that is controversial? Not to mention all the acronyms that different groups come up with and expect everyone to know. (Continued)
@aral @gargron So I guess all Im saying is that more emphasis should be placed on the meaning and the context of what someone is saying, rather than the words alone, because everyone will have different connotations for those specific words, but the context is usually more clear.
You usually can tell if someone is intentionally trying to be an asshole, versus someone who means no harm, but simply uses a poor choice of phrasing.
@crecca @aral @gargron There are different degrees of offensive words. One should not assume that all offensive words are equally known to all people.
This is particularly important for new-ish terms that have only been recently coined. It takes a while for language to spread, so perhaps a grace period is warranted.
You can be less lenient with older terms that have been well publicised and *most* people should be expected to know.
@aral Fascinating perspective. "dehumanization" sounds absolutely hyperbolic though.
@Johnny_of_the_swamp It is what it is. Anything that helps us think of a group of people as "the other" and thereby less as people helps dehumanise them.
And, to be honest, I don't know hyperbole is in a world where 8 men have as much wealth as half of the world's population combined (Oxfam, Jan '17) and where the "leader of the free world" is a reality TV show star who doesn't "believe in" climate change and toys with the idea of nuclear war. I don't know where I'd start… :)
@aral I'm not sure what kind of definition of "dehumanize" you're working with. It strikes me as particularly black and white thinking by assuming that 'otherizing' inherently strips agency. The idea that out group identification necessarily or even regularly leads to such characterization as non-human is frankly an outrageous claim. But I suspect that you and I have vastly differing philosophical perspectives.
@aral I'm feeling pretty addicted to mastodon so I think user still applies to me :-P
@aral @Gargon no, you're fundamentally misrepresenting the nature of this technology as a product intended for use. this not only tacitly validates the stigmatization of addicts, it displaces all blame of harm that any consumer technology does onto this nameless (and hence blameless) elite, as though what SV companies do is somehow different than what tech companies do in NY or anywhere else.
@aral @Gargon you can't solve those problems by referring users by a euphemism
@wolf I'm not talking about Silicon Valley as a place but as a model: VC-backed data farmers that monetise people (people farmers). Addiction is a core design criterion when your business model is based on getting as much data as possible which, in turn, is based on how well you can incentivise as much use as possible. Not all tech has that model. In Ethical Technology (https://ind.ie/ethical-design), we don't refer to people as users. We call them people.
@aral this isn't a question coming from a position that supports ruthless capitalist endeavors (and that this needs clarifying highlights how disengaged from the problems at hand this polemic is), but how could a plan of action whose entire premise undermines the accumulation of profit be considered a business model?
@aral people use ibuprofen and they use heroin. the motivations for each respective consumers is the difference between satisfying a need and an instantly gratifying desire. consumer technology by a wide margin falls into the latter category, it'd be absurd to claim the innovations funded by VCs get returns because people truly _need_ another iphone app. facebook isn't heroin, but i don't think you can justify it as being non-conspicuous consumption
@aral "ethical design" from how it describes itself sounds oxymoronic, as all three tenets are more PR-friendly incentives to consume products designed "ethically", bypassing the entire point
@wolf It’s the best I could come up with after four years of working on the problem. I look forward to your contributions and, if they’re better, I’d be happy to adopt and use them instead.
@aral Hear Hear@Gargron
@aral Considering the time I have spent this afternoon, I would say Mastodon is pretty addictive too.
This is my personal Mastodon.