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

Uhhh, Unix and Linux have users too, so does macOS and Windows and most OS paradigms. Don't get me wrong, I too though multi tasking without multiple users was great, but CBM is bankrupt the Amiga is no longer being manufactured. Don't twist nonemclature to your propagandist whims. TRON, and sysadmins fight for the users, while BOFHs may pejoratively call them lusers. People don't necessarily use computers, computer *users* do. @aral @Gargron

Aral Balkan @aral

@byterhymer @Gargron I feel you're missing my point: I'm not denying the status quo (that everyone calls people who use various technologies “users”), I’m saying we should change the status quo and leave the term to Silicon Valley, where it makes sense, and make a conscious decision to use a term that is impossible to use for othering and which actually pushes us to think of people as people.


@aral @gargron @byterhymer it's a standard term. You'd need to persuade a large number of people to change a large amount of source code if you wanted to call users something else. The chaos might be considerable. Also being a user doesn't preclude being a producer simultaneously.
@bob You can't really solve this problem with a new name for users anyway. You can't convince people that a dog is a person by forcing people to call dogs "Daves" instead; you can't make people consider other users as people by telling them that it's people, not users. The root issue is that some people don't think of words on a screen as coming from a person. That's not a naming problem, that's a problem of thinking habits.
@dbrz I'm not sure that calling users people would work, because sometimes they might not be. i.e. users can be other systems, or used purely for isolation of privileges.
@dbrz of course it's true that the majority of users are people, but #notallusers
@dbrz I expect that this is why when the first generation of Unix hackers were emerging from the primordial slime they decided on "user account" rather than "person account".
@bob I figure, the issue of de-humanizing the people we talk to on the 'Net is an issue of human stupidity. It's something that humans do when they're not actively thinking about it. It is fundamentally something that a person has to solve for him- or herself, not something you can teach.
@dbrz I don't think it's so much about stupidity (although sometimes it is) as about affinity. The degree to which you share priors and narratives. In monolithic systems like Twitter users with very little affinity are forced together and then of course clash because their narratives are too divergent. To have a good community the network topology needs to match. One size doesn't fit all.