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.

CC @Gargron

@aral @gargron Words, words, words. People are so focused on coming up with new words every day, rather than taking real actions to effect change in the world.
I don't give a shit what you call me, it's your actions that matter.

Aral Balkan @aral

@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.

@cc @aral @Gargron But history shows that by choosing words, we choose connotations, and over time bad connotations can be exploited. Trying to minimize it I see as a good thing and worth the effort. Just my 2 cents.

@crecca @gargron @aral Words are just symbols on a screen until we imbue them with meaning. It is up to us to choose what meaning we give them.

@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 @johnnyoftheswamp some day soon that's going to be one man. One man who owns the world. The situation would be so absurd that it could be a powerful motivator for change.