So I need your help.
I am working on a new project and I need pullquotes from people sharing their thoughts on my writing. Doesn’t have to be long, in fact 1-2 sentences is preferred.
Feel free to reply with yours or email me at jeff (at) jeffperry (dot) me.
Call me crazy but I am so uninterested in Apple AR/XR headset. I’m more interested in their new OS features for iOS and MacOS.
You know, what WWDC is literally meant for.
Stitch is absolutely beautiful, fun, and addicting. I’m so happy to be playing it in my down time lately. It’s the perfect mobile puzzle game.
I recently decided to try out Breath of the Wild for the first time and as someone who never was into Zelda games I have to admit that this game is absolutely fantastic. I know it’s not a hot take but I’d rather be 6 years late rather than never play it at all.
OpenAI just released an official app and I have to admit, it’s one of the best AI apps I’ve used.
This is your friendly reminder to choose “Stop Testing” on any betas you’re not actively using on TestFlight.
I was going to watch the Trump town hall on CNN last night, but I decided to stare at a blank wall instead. It was a more productive use of my time.
Today Techdirt released their second game, Moderator Mayhem . It is a "game that lets you see how good a job you would do as a front line content moderator," Mike Masnick writes, "for a growing technology company that hosts user-generated content".
Not only does the game have you moderate content, but it also gives you feedback from your manager and the public.
Are you supportive of free speech, or too oppressive in your moderation? Are you allowing too much harassment and therefore not considered safe? One thing about the public is that they’re not shy about letting you know how they feel.
I did my first run on my lunch break at work and I absolutely plan to play more with this later.
Techdirt has managed to, once again, provide some fantastic context to what is going on in big tech and the platforms we all know and love.
Let's Write Some Letters
Jarrod Blundy recently announced his plans to write letters with readers and other writers online, a project that spawned from Jason Becker’s Letters project. Luckily, I snagged August as the month I will be writing letters to Jarrod.
However, I think that I want to make room to write letters to others interested in this as well. If you want to share a public letter with me get in touch with me and let me know what month(s) work for you this year. Here’s what it will entail:
- One letter per week.
- The first letter will be sent by you in the first week of the month and I will respond by week 2 of the month, and we will repeat this for weeks 3 and 4. In total, we will have each written 2 letters.
Here are the requirements that both Jarod and Jason use that I will borrow from:
- The person I’m corresponding with will write the first letter.
- I will respond during the same week. They do not have to write again until the next week.
- Each letter will be at least 250 words.
- I will post the correspondent’s letter followed by my response on my blog. If they have a blog, they can do the same and I will gladly link to them.
If this looks like something you would like to do feel free to get in touch with me now. I will update the below list once I have something scheduled, so feel free to refresh this before sending me your available months.
August: Jarrod Blundy, HeyDingus
At this point, Elon is just toying with news and media organizations. They truly should just make the active decision to leave. www.npr.org/2023/05/0…
New issue of Clicked it out!
This issue I talk about the new onboarding process for Mastodon, whether Twitter is still worth it for journalists, and 5 links to other interesting stories.
It's time for journalists to leave Twitter
I was listening to a recent episode of the podcast Hard Fork, and a specific part of it really resonated with me. It was where
Casey Newton was talking to his co-host, Kevin Roose, about NPR’s decision to leave Twitter after getting a “state-affiliated media” badge.
You know what I’ve been thinking about lately, Kevin? Do you remember during the Trump campaigns, when there would be these rallies. And in the center of the rally there would be a pit for the media. And a signature moment of every rally would be Trump pointing to the people in the media so that everyone at the rally could say, boo, we don’t like the press.
That is what Twitter has become. It is the press pit, where a bunch of people are standing around you in a circle, jeering. Adding this state-funded media badge was one of those steps. But I’m barely joking when I say that I think eventually every reporter who is still on the service will have a clown badge next to their username. And you just have to decide if you still want to be there when it happens.
I truly think this is just a matter of time, and if Elon listens to Hard Fork then he almost certainly has at least talked about it with his overworked developer team.
To add to this, I also read in a recent post by Pew Research that journalists on Twitter might not even be getting the views they deserve. Nearly 70% of journalists use Twitter as one of their top social media platforms. With that in mind, only about 13% of users use Twitter as their means of getting news.
The usage of Twitter by journalists is beyond disproportionate to their actual reach.
Huge Changes for New Mastodon Users
People signing up for Mastodon will no longer have to worry about what server to go to. Instead, Mastodon will now be defaulting to a server they operate. Eugen Rochko, Mastodon’s Founder and CEO, explained his reasoning for this saying that “[m]aking the onboarding process as easy as possible helps new users get past the sign-up process and more quickly engage with others.”
ZOOM OUT: The balancing act between usability and the open web is upon us. Instead of focusing on the decentralization of Mastodon, they are opting to choose something more closed.
- This follows a more centralized platform like Facebook and Twitter. Though you can change servers.
- Bluesky, Mastodon’s competitor, is also known to do something like this as well for new users.
Substack co-founder denounces bigotry, but has no plan jeffperry.me/substack-…
Substack co-founder denounces bigotry, but has no plan
Shortly after Substack announced their Twitter competitor Substack Notes Nilay Patel interviewed Substack’s CEO, Chris Best, to talk about it.
In it, Patel asked Best if the statement “all brown people are animals and they shouldn’t be allowed in America” would be censored on Substack Notes. Best refused to say that it would, and when pressed further by Patel the CEO responded saying, “I’m not going to get into gotcha content moderation” because he didn’t think it’s “a useful way to talk about this stuff.”
On April 21st, a week after the Decoder interview went live, Substack co-founder Hamish McKenzie wrote a company statement via Substack Notes:
Last week, we caught some heat after Chris didn’t accept the terms of a question from a podcast interviewer about how Substack will handle bigoted speech on Notes. It came across poorly and some people sternly criticized us for our naivety while others wondered how we’d discourage bad behaviors and content on Notes. We wish that interview had gone better and that Chris had more clearly represented our position in that moment, and we regret causing any alarm for people who care about Substack and how the platform is evolving. We messed that up. And just in case anyone is ever in any doubt: we don’t like or condone bigotry in any form.
Spoiler alert: McKenzie doesn’t have any actions or policies laid out to explain how Substack will combat bigotry. “Caught some heat” is about as bad as it gets from a company statement. It might as well have said “got caught being shitty.”
The “heat” in question were from an episode of Decoder where Chris Best, CEO of Substack, refused to say that “all brown people are animals and they shouldn’t be allowed in America” would violate their content guidelines.
It gets worse, in classic whataboutism McKenzie argues that the other social media companies aren’t doing much to fight bigotry despite their huge content moderation teams.
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and others have tens of thousands of engineers, lawyers, and trust & safety employees working on content moderation, and they have poured hundreds of millions of dollars into their efforts. The content moderation policies at some of those companies run to something like 150 pages. But how is it all working out? Is there less concern about misinformation? Has polarization decreased? Has fake news gone away? Is there less bigotry? It doesn’t seem so to us, despite the best efforts and good intentions of the most powerful media technology companies the world has ever known.
Now, this doesn’t mean there should be no moderation at all, and we do of course have content guidelines with narrowly defined restrictions that we will continue to enforce. But, generally speaking, we suspect that the issue is that you can’t solve a problem (social media business models) with a problem (a content moderation apparatus that doesn’t work and burns trust). So we are taking a different path.
That “different path,” McKenzie explains, is “changing the business model.” How will they change this business? Basically making the creator do their own content moderation. Substack decided to look at their writers, the whole reason Substack is making money, and telling them to figure it out themselves.
Truthfully this is a bad company statement trying to walk back Chris Best’s blunder on Decoder. In fact, it made things even more rocky for Substack.
Substack is a place where writers can write what they want to write, readers can read what they want to read, and everyone can choose who they hang out with. It’s a different game from social media as we know it.
No it isn’t, this “game” is the same on Facebook, Twitter, and more. There can be simple and no-nonsense content moderation policies in place and people who disagree on the platform.
Just because you are removing and disallowing someone from saying “all brown people are animals and they shouldn’t be allowed in America” doesn’t mean that everyone will suddenly be the same ideologically. You can have rules in place to prevent violence while having a healthy discourse.
I wrote before about Substack’s poorly written content guidelines and I said, “this isn’t an endorsement to spread hate but it certainly doesn’t thwart any of that kind of behavior either.” While I still believe that, the more Substack dives in to their content moderation guidelines give me pause. It makes me believe that Substack is less making a critical error and more deliberately dog-whistling.
Some people feel similarly, one being Mike Masnick at Techdirt. He explained the Nazi bar story on Reddit and how, with comments like Best’s on Decoder, Substack is allowing more Nazis to come in to Substack’s metaphorical bar.
But Substack is a centralized system. And a centralized system that doesn’t do trust & safety… is the Nazi bar. And if you have some other system that you think allows for “moderation but not censorship” then be fucking explicit about what it is. There are all sorts of interventions short of removing content that have been shown to work well (though, with other social media, they still get accused of “censorship” for literally expressing more speech). But the details matter. A lot.
If Substack truly wants to be a place for everyone to come and discuss things that matter to them, they cannot continue with this hands-off approach. Content moderation is messy, and it isn't easy to handle. That being said, Substack needs to roll up their sleeves and embrace the mess. Otherwise they will drive more and more people off of their platform.
Nick Heer writing on Pixel Envy:
Here are three relatively recent interactions I have had with independent software developers:
- In November 2020,1 I suggested a separate display of the optional
external_urlproperty for JSON Feeds in NetNewsWire. I was not sure how to program this, but I thought it was a reasonable idea and, fortunately, Maurice Parker and Brent Simmons agreed. Within a week, it was part of the application. (Because this is open source software, I feel comfortable being precise.)
- A reader emailed me with questions about iPhone photography. That gave me an idea, which I sent off to a developer, who responded positively to the suggestion.
- I encountered a strange bug in a Safari extension. I emailed the developer with specific conditions and a screenshot, and received a reply mere hours later asking for more information. A busy week got in the way of my reply, so the developer emailed again several days later to follow up. I was no longer able to reproduce the bug but it was nice to be reminded.
These are just a few of the numerous pleasant experiences I have had with independent software developers. I cannot say the same is true of big corporate developers — not even close.
When I buy and use software from an independent developer, it feels like I am establishing a relationship with the person or small team that built it; it feels like we both have a stake in the success of the product. But when I use software made by a massive company, I can feel the power imbalance in the pit of my stomach.
Could not agree more.
I truly feel more connected with indie apps and services over big-name corporate brands. Do I still choose the big names over indie? Sure, but I don't feel good about it.
The indie apps I do use are the ones I will happily pay yearly subscriptions for because I know that the money I am paying goes to the people that put their blood sweat and tears into what they make.
Too Many to Manage
The chatty-chat-social media landscape has become a little overwhelming, for me, since Twitter's collapse. I find myself juggling and managing;
The only reason Wavelength seems somewhat appealing is that in any group that I am part of, no one sees or would have my phone number, unlike Telegram or WhatsApp, as far as I know. Still, I am not sure I want to manage this many things.
The competition for chat apps has began to get quite saturated to say the least. Like most things many people will pick where most of their people are and let the rest fall to the wayside. For me Mastodon is the biggest one, but I am using 3-5 other ones to keep up with everything going on in this space.
Which reminds me, if you want to follow me you can do so here:
Apple’s Newsroom Blog Debuts New ‘Quick Read’ Post
Jarrod Blundy writing at HeyDingus:
Tonight, I noticed something curious about Apple’s latest post to their official Newsroom, a blog of sorts where the company makes public statements and press releases. The post regarding the opening dates for their two newest retail stores is categorized as a ‘Quick Read’, complete with a lightening bolt icon and pop-up interaction from the main Newsroom feed.
Still, it’s nice to see Apple join in on the return of personal blogging with something new, however minor it may be, on their blog.
Jarrod also makes a list of a lot of posts from Apple with similar word counts but significantly different categories.
It is interesting to see yet another distinction without a difference though.