The problem with The Discourse on Twitter is that it's mostly "talk about this terrible take by a person no one knows and that everyone hates."

It's pretty much the problem with "engagement" as a metric in general: people engage most with what they hate.


On LiveJournal 15+ years ago, we had Discourse too. But LJ didn't do metrics about "engagement", so The Discourse was long, thoughtful essays on topics like "technical skills vs creativity".

Because it was prompted by "one of your friends wrote about this interesting thing and then maybe you had a long discussion in the comments or maybe you posted your own entry."

And because *your friends* posted the original, you tried to be considerate even when you didn't agree.

There were definitely flame wars. It wasn't an idyll. But there was way less "let's all yell at this one stranger."

This is not intended to be nostalgic for "the good ol' days". It's just me thinking about the way the tools we use impact our behavior, even when superficially they seem similar.

@Rowyn This is interesting. I assumed the problem with places like Twitter is that everyone is on the same site and able to interact with each other and that's just... not how people are used to thinking, you don't expect strangers from across the world to come yelling at you for something you put up on a message board.

But I suppose the design of the platform and what it prioritizes matters a lot too, it's not JUST that it's centralized.

@socks Yeah. The centralization means that Twitter (the company) gets to control what the users see and experience. And the company is incentivized to promote what will make the platform thrive, and how the users feel about it is irrelevant to their big concern (the platform thrives).

Centralized platforms *tend* to go that way, but it's not really "Twitter is terrible BECAUSE it's ginormous." Twitter being terrible helped it to become ginormous. People engage with terrible.


god I am so tired of "here is today's Main Character On Twitter, we must all mock him/her"

@anthracite I could go the entire rest of my life without knowing who the Twitter Main Character is. x_x


Same. I turned off retweets for a bunch of people I follow and it takes a lot longer for me to discover who today’s is, and requires Actual Effort on my part. Which I rarely bother with.

@anthracite Some people I follow will QT the Main Character or otherwise Discourse about them so sometimes I find out anyway. I might pare down my following list further. -_-

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