liv: Bookshelf labelled: Caution. Hungry bookworm (bookies)
[personal profile] liv
Recently read: Don't use that tone of voice with me, internet friends

This one is from ages ago, partly because I'm not ready to post election reaction linkspams yet (and I may never be, I'm watching this from a distance). And partly because it was posted on Imzy and Imzy has only recently launched publicly, making it possible to link to content there. (It's still horrible low contrast and otherwise unreadable; for this essay it's well worth a workround like copying the text into a text editor, if you can.) I'd previously encountered Sciatrix as an extremely brilliant commenter on the kinds of forums that have weighty, thinky comments, like MeFi. And the Imzy platform has finally tempted her to make her own blog, which is awesome. I was extremely pleased to discover that she sometimes lurks on this DW, too.

Anyway, Sciatrix talks about tone of voice in plain text and in contemporary internet subcultures, and segues nicely into the psychology of criticizing people without making them defensive, and the tone policing / callout-culture issues that are such a live wire right now... on reflection, this is perhaps not a totally unpolitical link.

Currently reading: Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie. I'm a few chapters in and loving it just as much as I expected from Ancillary Justice.

Up next: If I'm feeling brave enough, I think I might try Umberto Eco's fictional history of antisemitism The Prague Cemetery, which has been on my to-read pile for some years and feels quite timely now.

(no subject)

Date: 2016-11-16 11:55 am (UTC)
hollymath: (Default)
From: [personal profile] hollymath
It's still horrible low contrast and otherwise unreadable; for this essay it's well worth a workround like copying the text into a text editor, if you can.

For years I've been using browser extensions for this, so if you/anyone who reads this is interested, here's what I recently said about them:
‎So my main browser is Firefox, and the extension I use for that is called Tranquility.

Chrome I don't use as much for browsing any more, but that still has the extension I used to use for Firefox, it's called Readability.

Both of these are really good for getting rid of all the ads and stuff too. You can set font and size too, and you just get one lovely column of black text on a white background. Like the old days of the internet! 

Tranquility is sometimes annoying for also taking away images you do want (photos that are part of the news story, etc) but I still find it's ‎worth it. It's very easy to toggle between "readable" and "original" modes so you can look at the diagrams or photos if need be with, overall, still less hassle than trying to parse modern Web pages. :)

And Tranquility does have the advantage of keeping the URL the same so it's easy to copy/share the link (Readability changes the URL when it changes the webpage, which just means you have to remember to change it back before you copy the link or something).

(no subject)

Date: 2016-11-16 12:30 pm (UTC)
hollymath: (Default)
From: [personal profile] hollymath
Yep, even people who can see perfectly well can't read the internet these days. (That link is really interesting on how it got to be this way, too.) The mere fact that extensions like these (and plenty others, these just happen to be the ones I use) exist is an indication that this is a problem lots of people have.

And I don't think it should let people off the hook; I'm glad you're pressuring Imzy to be more accessible, and the fact that they -- and so many other websites -- prioritizing "brand" over that sends me a clear message about how important I am, compared to their "look," "image," "design" or "brand."

(no subject)

Date: 2016-11-17 12:16 am (UTC)
elf: Computer chip with location dot (You Are Here)
From: [personal profile] elf
I use Bluezy the Third for Imzy; there's a few other styles available.

I firmly believe Imzy is going to utterly fail to get beyond their initial buy-in unless they offer site skins. (I can list a dozen-odd other reasons I expect them to fail, but before any of those come into play, they need to have legible content, which apparently is not one of their design priorities.) A brand policy of "Don't like? Don't read!" is not a success plan for a user-based content social media site.

Other than that, thank you; that's an awesome post.

Imzy notes

Date: 2016-11-17 04:27 pm (UTC)
elf: Computer chip with location dot (You Are Here)
From: [personal profile] elf
They're nowhere near multimedia-friendly enough to appeal to regular tumblr users - something about only one image working in the image interface? And while it has a "podcast" entry (??? wtf? An entry type for one particular use of media?), there's no support (afaik) for video or audio upload.

Tagging is a mess. Having it entirely under mod control will throw things for tumblr and private blog users. The whole "everything is a community/forum" structure is alien to tumblr users, LJ/DW users, Wordpress bloggers, twitter users... they're really trying to re-skin reddit and enforce an an actual "don't be dicks" policy.

(I heard a big part of Ello's death was lack of privacy & lack of enforcement of such a policy.)

Imzy's text interface sucks. It uses markdown, which most webfolks don't understand - and it uses a limited form of it, so those of us who are happy to pick up new formatting languages are still stuck with just the basics.

The text entry box isn't remotely like the ones at DW or tumblr: if you copy/paste text out of it, you lose all formatting and it becomes one big block of text. Means you can't say, "I guess I should make this into a list," copy the text into Word and do some reformatting.

The narrow-central-column layout is the real killer, though. Tumblr user dashboards have that - but all "comments" are stacked below the original, not shown indented. Imzy is terrible for having complex discussions because they get shoved into a subcolumn of that narrow column--and the indents stop a few in, so it's really hard to follow as things go more in-depth.

They kicked off some trolls? Great! But that absolutely doesn't scale, unless they're planning to retain the current users:staff ratio. Part of why large sites get overwhelmed by trolls is that unless you swing that banhammer far and wide and often, they'll set up their own little corner of the site, and then when the mods notice them, it's "but we've been here for months and nobody minded!"

They need their TOS to be more detailed about what they don't allow, no fall back on the same "hate speech is not allowed" that every. single. user-based content. site. ever. has. They need to spell out what they consider offensive/harassing/hate speech to be, and what they'll do about it - instant ban? Up to 2 warnings & 3rd time is a ban for milder cases? How long do those warnings last - is that "life of the account" or does it drop off the record after 6 months?

Are they gonna get into the "what counts as a slur" argument?

My corner of tumblr is currently bouncing around threads about the word "queer." I'm in the "we have reclaimed it" crowd, along with a whole bunch of other people who are over 30 years old. Apparently some of the younger crowd believe it's a slur.

That's without getting into terms used by and about trans people.

So: Moderating assholism is an incredible amount of work that requires fine judgement calls. I adore the Metafilter mod team; they make it look simple, regularly jumping into threads with things like [a few comments removed; folks, we're done re-litigating the primaries] and [comment removed - nameofperson, quit trying to imply dog owners are more stupid than cat owners] and [comments removed - if you really thing women are happier as housewives than they are employed, this is not the thread for that.]

And they also remove comments without notifying the crowd, if there's no need to inform the threat as a whole that a discussion needs to refocus.

Imzy is counting on individual users who control the groups/communities to do that. Trouble is, there's no requirements to run a group. There's a terms-of-intent doc that, like most ToS pages, is going to be briefly skimmed the first time a person sets up a comm and never looked at again. There's certainly no open discussion with the site staff to sort out what kind of tones, language, attitudes they want to support and which they think are problematic enough to warrant careful watching.

Short Version:
Multimedia support is weak.
Text discussion support is weak.
Long-form text support is weak.
Moderation support is weak.
Appearance is unpleasant for a substantial portion of readers.

They've got a few innovative features and some nice goals, but nothing that's likely to make anyone say, "aww hell yeah, THIS needs to be my new online home! Imma grab all my friends and make them set up accounts and start crossposting until they make the switch!" ... which you can't do.

Re: Imzy notes

Date: 2016-11-18 05:11 pm (UTC)
jesse_the_k: harbor seal's head with caption "seal of approval" (Approval)
From: [personal profile] jesse_the_k
Thank you so much for this detailed criticism.

I noped-right-out because of the unreadability, and not having the energy to educate another site about these issues. [FUCK YOU 2016 ALREADY]

(no subject)

Date: 2016-11-17 05:10 pm (UTC)
elf: Multi-holiday icon (Happy Everything)
From: [personal profile] elf
Followup bit of Imzy cluelessness:

Sign up for Imzy’s inaugural secret santa!
You will get an email on November 25th with the address of who you should send a gift to. This email will contain a link to your giftee telling you what they want for christmas. You should mail your gift right away. If and when you receive a gift, you should post it here in /christmas for everyone to see. Remember, be thankful! REMEMBER, NO COMPLAINING. It doesn’t help anyone.

Most of it is fine! Site-sponsored holiday gift exchange, yay! ... Except the part where it's obviously for people who celebrate Christmas, not other holidays.

I bet if I mentioned that, I'd get back a whole bunch of hostile comments about how Christmas is near-universal and it's all secular and meant to be inclusive and if I don't like it I don't have to participate - not that the site is specifically endorsing one religion's holiday while ignoring several others that happen around the same time.


Miscellaneous. Eclectic. Random. Perhaps markedly literate, or at least suffering from the compulsion to read any text that presents itself, including cereal boxes.

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