- Date published:
12:34 am, November 22nd, 2022 - 15 comments
Categories: internet, Media, parody, Satire, twitter, uncategorized - Tags: elon musk, free speech, freedom of expression, great twit, jordan williams, nz taxpayers union, wordpress
The new Great Twit at Twitter has been cauterising off staff in excess. So I suspect that the platform is going to go down the toilet for that (amongst other reasons). But my main concern here has been to preserve the embedded tweets in posts and comments on this site if this idiotic engineer manages to destroy the platform through his stupidity.
You can pretty much guarantee that Musk has been excising more organisational muscle than organisational fat at present. He simply doesn’t appear to understand what the destruction of long formed networks within a company will do, just as he appears to have fuck-all understanding of social networking.
Can’t blame the employees at Twitter. I know that as a coder of many decades that I simply wouldn’t work for any boss with the Great Twit’s attitudes. He sounds like a raving narcissistic lunatic with an inability to gain non-sycophantic loyalty. In short, a pretty standard psychopathic libertarian. Effective within his current engineering and finance sphere. Pretty damn useless in the social one. Not a person you want to engage your creative talents if you have any other choices.
That managerial ‘clean broom’ was old and stale and known to be excessively destructive approach when I did an MBA nearly 40 years ago. Running organisations are complex organisations with a lot of embedded knowledge in their staff. Firing staff arbitrarily sort of works if you’re mostly interested in just realising the value of physical assets. But these days it is one of fastest ways to destroy the real assets of most businesses because the social networks and institutional knowledge inside an organisation is the main asset these days.
That is especially the case with technology based firms. If you cut too fast then you lose too much knowledge that doesn’t transition. Doesn’t matter how much documentation or code there is. Most documentation in a computing sphere is usually effectively obsolete while it is being written.
Losing staff in the manner that the Great Twit has been doing will cause infrastructural issues, typically at peak loads or at high intrusion levels. If not, then all complex systems are pretty fragile when you indiscriminately drop two thirds of staff that support the hardware, software, and processes that make them work. Eventually, it isn’t so much a case for if it is going down in a screaming heap, but more about when, how, and how much will survive. Currently I don’t see much chance of twitter surviving how this transition post settlement has been going.
In the meantime the issue is what do the many many users of Twitter will do. I deliberately picked a article from Wisconsin (a US state with slightly more population than NZ) than just to show how far that anxiety has gotten to.
Many users are encouraging each other to protect against an outage or breach by downloading their archives of data — including their tweets and follower lists. Yet the load that creates on Twitter’s systems could become a tipping point, the former employee said.
They also worried about what might happen to Twitter’s data centers without the workforce to monitor them sufficiently.
“If a network cable gets disconnected, or if a hard drive gets filled up or if there’s some minor power switch failure somewhere, there aren’t enough people to deal with these situations,” they said.
Plus, there are safety and security concerns. Twitter saw a surge in racist and antisemitic tweets following Musk’s takeover. Many of the staff and contractors who were laid off or resigned worked on teams curbing toxic and illegal content.
Musk framed his interest in buying Twitter in the first place as being about increasing free speech. He has previously criticized its policies against hate speech, harassment and misleading claims.
But he’s hit a steep learning curve as Twitter’s self-declared “Chief Twit.” Hours after closing the deal in late October, he tweeted, “Comedy is now legal on Twitter.” Then, when some users changed their names and photos to mimic his own, he changed his tune and declared, “Going forward, any Twitter handles engaging in impersonation without clearly specifying ‘parody’ will be permanently suspended.”Wisconsin Public Radio: How likely is a complete Twitter meltdown?
Having a libertarian in charge of a social service is like watching stereotypical box ticking for anyone who has been around the net for many decades. Newbies like the Great Twit think running social networking isn’t really a problem. They invariably always come in thinking that you don’t need to limit freedoms in a non-resource constrained environment because surely they will naturally form a self-regulating community. ‘Rational people’ like themselves (which is usually at a considerable variance to how others see them) will naturally form strong communities if they are ‘free’.
This is the classic idiotic conceit of the libertarians, social idealists, and virtually every ‘free speech’ advocates I have ever met. I get the impression that they’re just too damn lazy to actually work at building a viable society with the messy, often semi-irrational, real people who inhabit our societies, in the real world or online. On the net they find the the number and sheer persistence of outright arseholes exceeds the ability for hands-off online social pressure to constrain. It has always amused me watching the convolutions that such ideologues descend to as they try to justify their subsequent actions.
There are number of examples even in the New Zealand blogs and news sites where sites turn off comments rather than moderate them, force logins, silently and arbitrarily silence critical comments before releasing them out of a continuous moderation, or simply delete comments that they disagree with. Rather than dealing with the real online world, they just drop to tactics worthy of any autocratic society.
This site allows comments without logins, doesn’t require real identities, immediately publishes comments (after a first accepted comment), and makes any bans up front and handled in public. Moderators explain why someone has been restricted, roughly down long it is for. In other words, the process is roughly that of any ‘free’ local judicial system – but sped up to internet speeds. It isn’t perfect. But it is effective.
None of this is perfect. But it is way closer to freedom of expression on the local NZ net than any other site I know of. Indeed most of the advocates that I know of as being involved in the free speech advocacy don’t run sites with anything like this level of freedom of expression. Certainly the NZ Free Speech Union certainly doesn’t. You can’t even comment on that site – probably the ultimate in autocratic avoidance of ‘free speech’ .
Plus of course we had the Whaleoil site which managed to do literally all of the autocratic techniques to make sure that their site (and its successor) aren’t bothered by any actual ‘free speech’ while hypothetically proclaiming its adherence to that goal.
Its eventual legal demise through an excess of being a site for arseholes to congregate and plot criminal (like trying to pay to have this site hacked) or totally morally repugnant actions. Jordan Williams of the ‘Taxpayers Union’ and The ‘NZ Free Speech Union’ particularly comes to mind for what I consider to be his repugnant, immoral and what should probably be professionally reprehensible actions (see the quote at ).
So for now the Great Twit appears to be determined to increase the world wide ‘freedom’ for the arseholes of the net. It is a great temporary tool to increase engagement. At least until you find that it will drive the non-arseholes (and the advertisers who market to them) away. Under the Great Twit, it currently sounds like Twitter will head towards a Whaleoil market in the name of ‘free speech’ without responsible moderation, and with the same kind of arbitrary authoritarianism that Cameron Slater indulged himself in.
There are already reports of a massive increase in racial bigotry on Twitter. I’d expect misogyny to start to increase even more. The moderation policies will shift to being Great Twit arbitrary (like the sudden ‘parody’ rule) and increasing ineffectual. It always does without clear moderation controls on social media sites. It is exactly the same process that in the real work through history where breakdowns in clear legal norms invariably progresses towards local warlords and famine. In social networks the cycle just spirals way faster because there are seldom resource constraints slowing the downward descent.
It often only takes a few weeks or months from a insane lapse of judgement shifting a online social network from vaguely useful to being a shit hole social media inhabited by the rejects from the dark web and places like 4chan.
Advertisers are aware of this and appear to holding back because of it.
It is not clear what, if any, changes Musk and his team have made to the platform since he closed on his $44 billion deal to take the company private last week, though at least one study suggested hate speech on the platform increased soon after the takeover. Musk himself posted, then deleted, a debunked, anti-LGBTQ conspiracy theory about the attack on Paul Pelosi, the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi just days after the deal closed.
When asked how brands will position themselves in this opening chapter of Twitter’s new era, Wedbush Securities managing director, Dan Ives, told NBC News that advertisers simply do not want to be associated with controversy.
“If it becomes an essential street fight around hate speech, advertisers are going to run for the hills,” Ives said.
“That fundamentally is the problem. You’re trying to bring advertisers back on while loosening content moderation. Those go exactly against each other. And no advertiser is going to jump in the deep end until they know the rules of the game. And Musk goes to the beat of a different drummer.”NBC News: “Advertisers pull back from Twitter amid ‘uncertainty’ about new owner Elon Musk’s strategy“
Personally I haven’t ever bothered too much with twitter. Too short for analytical writing. It has always appeared to me to resemble an up-yours garden for shallow memes and slogans tailored for and by early influencers and other forms of implicit advertising. Not a bad place to pump ‘come-on’ links to content and not much more.
I have essentially ignored Twitter since its inception as it does little for me in helping to understand the world I’m in. It also takes way too much time to carefully worded and usually semantically meaningless waffling. Time that I could otherwise use for writing code. I mostly observe Twitter spams in the digest e-mails or tweets from people I have followed or read in the political and media spheres. It allows me to see what a lot of the local political and social parasites are doing instead of some kind of productive work. There are exceptions, and they appear to becoming rarer rapidly.
However even those e-mails have been irritating me for a while because they have been tending to deteriorate into raw links with only a few words of explanation – which just reads like invitation to clickbait.
These were in In my twitter digest at 20:17 today. Why should I click a link that only says something like “We already have?” from Liam Hehir, or “Guest Post: Winning Seats from Labour” from David Farrar, or “Oh no he is doing it again” from antihobbes, or “our Great and String Judicary” from Morgan Godfery.
Only Judith Collins and Keith Ng managed to write something with more than 10 words about the link they would like me to look at.
Obviously the authors and commentators around here seem to rely on Twitter more than I do. Embedding tweets has been popular. There are tens of thousands of tweets embedded on the site. Which is a bit of a problem if the Great Twit mucks it up. There is a lot of the site that will lose context in the posts and comments if the tweets disappear out of view and just become a dead link.
So I’m looking around for a tool to store all tweets on the site into local storage to cover us if and when Twitter fails or declines. This site runs WordPress. Anyone got any suggestions for helping this site survive the (probable) Great Twit apocalypse?
I had a look around this morning and couldn’t find anything obvious for the task. Don’t mind paying for tool if there isn’t a FOSS or set of open source libraries. Leave links if possible.
I just don’t want to spend too much time dealing the the fallout from the Great Twit’s screwups. So suggestions please… I’m sure that there will be a lot of other sites looking to safeguard their sites as well.