I’m staying off twitter today other than the tweet or two this generates. I won’t tell you what I think of Stacy McCain, because that bit of tribal signaling is bullshit and we should avoid. But I will tell you what I think of Twitter.
I think John Hoge of Hogewash! has the right idea: stop giving them clicks for a while.
I also agree with Ken White to an extent that I do not have a right to be heard on twitter.
But I think I do think twitter owes me something: a clear set of rules with even enforcement. Transparency would be a bonus (but I’m not going to get my hopes up).
I can defend this on 3 grounds: Rawlsian (what I suspect everyone in Rawls’s “original position” would want under his justice-as-fairness model). Given that most modern progressives at least genuflect at the alter of Rawls via Daniels, this is helpful.
I could defend it on Kantian grounds via his “kingdom of ends” and the categorical imperative.
But I think the best place to defend my position is simply on business grounds. Twitter’s ostensible job is to make money. Something, I might add, it fails at now by all accounts. In order to make money it needs to attract eyeballs to sell ads. It does this in two ways. 1) By letting me create content others want to see and 2) by letting others create content I want to see.
In order for this model to be successful the content creators need a clear idea of what is permitted on their network and what is not. In the past twitter was more light handed, so we knew that most things were allowed. As various groups (hi there @femfreq) decided they didn’t like this, they used “vocal minority” tricks (e.g. squeaky wheel gets the grease) to push twitter into more heavy handed moderation.
Twitter has proven itself inept at this, even if it weren’t the wrong approach in the first place. Twitter is simply too large for this type of moderation to occur with any sort of discretion and diligence so they seem to have offloaded it primarily to automated programs, making it prone to manipulation. (Somewhere in this video the Xbox live enforcement team talks about why they didn’t automate banning, but it’s a much smaller universe of people.)
Basically I’ll I’m asking from twitter is for the terms of the contract under which we operate. Is that too much to ask?
What twitter doesn’t understand is that I’ve walked away from communities before. Just up and left. It’s hard, I miss the people for a while, but then I forget and move on to a new community. Twitter would be the easiest community to leave because most of you I can find here or at the HQ, so I wouldn’t even have to miss you.