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Is Twitter the only example of a network which has become less valuable to users as it expanded (due to trolls etc)? One for @benthompson?
145 replies and sub-replies as of Jul 08 2017

I think @facebook has gotten worse as more brands are added and news feed changed from time focused to engagement focused
Define “worse” in this situation.
Worse in that as a social network it started failing at being social and leaned towards consumption of info and rebroadcast network
Agree with Urvi. All I see on FB are low quality "viral" videos and memes. Real status/photo sharing seems down.
Everyone's Facebook is different. All I see is people sharing updates about their life - that's what I trained it to show through engagement
As a social platform it's social perk was diluted. There are more reliable news sites to engage with so competetive differentiation weakened
For example, how does the presence of this person on Twitter improve its value to anyone else at all? Entirely -ve.
Is Twitter the only example of a network which has become less valuable to users as it expanded (due to trolls etc)? One for @benthompson?
The full value is negative, but that is great material for AI research. Perhaps also psychology, sociology and more.
Had slightly hoped for better.
these folk are easy to spot and filter. There was a great analysis on this recently. Suggests the bots etc bring in good money.
Would you expect this person to be a valuable contributor on Facebook or YouTube? Humanity is vile, not its tools.
On those, he’d get downvoted or blotted out very quickly by the algorithm, yes? On here, impossible to remove from the noise.
Twitter has comment prioritisation too. I still see this as a critique of culture and shoddy education rather than a technical problem.
If Twitter gives voice to the vile, shutting that down just hides them, it doesn't eliminate the problem.
It does get rid of the problem where someone who’d never have been able to insult someone far away now can, repeatedly, without comeback.
My general point remains: does there come a point where non-algorithmic networks’ value turns negative with size?
To that I say yes. Though the specific inflection point would depend on the proportion of vile assholes in wider society. :)
But perhaps to Charles' point, do you think that inflection point depends on the network (I for one do)?
Compare Instagram and Twitter, for example. Instagram before going algorithmic was still better regarded for its users. Even if same people.
Yes! Flip side, Reddit is often worse than Twitter because the rules depend on the sub, not the site
I would argue that a lot of the tone issues of a community are set early on and as you grow larger, it's harder/impossible to be more civil
Seems a good metric. Had overlooked the Reddit thing, though doubt any of those are quite at the Twitter scale..
Correct. With increase in scale, even initially good communities likely to turn uncivil, but bad ones impossible to make right.
Yeah, but this is the thing: new networks tend to work like Sturgeon’s Law in reverse. As they grow they pick up more of the 90%.
It's a technical problem. Twitter could easily offer 'downvote' / user driven tagging system (to allow marking e.g. bots)
What you're proposing is censorship by the masses. (Bots not the subject here). Would you really like that system if majority = Trump fans?
I think bots (as in paid Russian accts intending to stir up trouble) are part of the subject, tbh. What one seeks is not to enable abusers.
Twitter would have the 'credibility' of the voter as a factor in calculating the effect. E.g. require at least 2 years before can even vote
...and whether you want to filter out bad stuff would still be opt-in
Can you explain shoddy education being a cause?
Seems to me blocklists are a user-generated attempt to deal with Twitter’s own shortcomings (or refusal to deal with self-made problems)
Vile. I've reported him and hopefully if enough do it @Twitter finally takes notice. Very clunky way of doing things though...
Are you saying the largest non-non-algorithmic network, Fakebook, crossed the point and had a positive effect on, say, the US elections?
Well a Mr V Putin has written in to say that he thought its effects were positive.
FACT: Networks without noise become fragile and short-lived.
Closer to (your) home, newspaper comments said to have been sanitized from 'noise' by various means, now abandoned.
Don’t agree. Comments on general news sites were never great, but got worse rapidly with growth in readers (hence commenters).
So your ideal scenario is the various text/photo sharing apps we've seen targeting networks of small, private groups/topics/events/etc?
my ideal scenario is a big network which also dissuades jerks, but that isn’t a possibility. Just intrigued by Twitter’s essential failure.
Granted, I hardly ever go out of my way to seek jerks but there are near-zero number of them in my timeline. What are you doing wrong? :)
nothing! That’s the point!
My timeline is clean too. I suspect it’s because I don’t look at replies (don’t look at this)
Surely it increases its value to Twitter if that user is seeing advertisements?
Yes, but not to everyone else, who might then consider quitting Twitter.
One of the biggest things happening is assholes finding out there are many more assholes and connecting. That's the value it provides.
Maybe for us. But for the assholes, it is a celebration ! And volume will help advertising.
What about if we had an Uber rating on Twitter. You could set your filter level. Rating determined by quality of followers/complaints etc.
But that's basically a black mirror episode... 🤔
just answered the 'value' question. 😁
Not to Twitter. This is Capitalism: The thirst for profit means you don't filter out the dregs. More ad impressions. Profit wins. LOL, TOS.
Hence Twitter may want to build ability to show contextual tweets to those who want it. Eg X's political tweets but not movie reviews.
Apropos: @arielwaldman (happily, still here) complaining *in 2008* about how Twitter didn’t impose its own TOS…
For example, how does the presence of this person on Twitter improve its value to anyone else at all? Entirely -ve.
The sad reality is that disagreements are better for engagement metrics. Fights last longer than shared conclusions. Trolls drive “value”
Twitter's purpose is revenue, not social advancement.
And staying relevant. Thus, selectively applying & executing TOS.
If people abandon it because the experience is toxic, it will lose revenue. It already loses money.
Pretty sure you're describing people who are Internet-illiterate getting smartphones swarming the social networks, ignorant of netiquette
is a hole in the air.
Agree twitter trolls devalued network as expanded. Obvious algo timeline to suppress trolls answer. But leadership too short term, so 🤷‍♂️
I suppose I'd rather have fruitcakes like that hunched over their keyboard wasting their time than out on the street.
Isn't that the problem with trolls, they mostly wouldn't exist otherwise, to lazy to show themselves in the real world and dedicate time
Yes - if there were a higher effort cost, many of those would go away. But of course that wd leave the really dedicated, who are dangerous
But are the dangerous trolls just engaged by the ever escalating participation of bots and other trolls? That seems to be twitters prob.
Yup, they work together to amplify each other.
Well it wouldn't be reflective of the real world if everyone was lovely and you agreed with everything they said.
That person relentlessly tweets negative things at people. No added value. Utterly without utility to anyone but them - maybe not even them.
Id rarther have the knuckle dragging types on here then not, at least here we know where they Are.
Don't think the presence of this person anywhere helps anything
Similarly @instagram when it ceased to be time based feed became significantly less interesting to me.
Usenet? Too many people -> lower signal/noise, more idiots and trolls
On Usenet you could mute people very effectively - in ways Twitter has only recently begun to discover.
How idealistic am i to expect a world where only 1 email /twitter id, etc. exists? No one can utter nonsense in social media under a veil!
They would be totalitarian. Not idealistic.
I wonder how that wud bcom totalitarian?! If someone wants to express a disagreement he/she can comment directly rather than trolling.
There's a Netflix movie with Tom Hanks and Emma Watson called 'The Circle' that deals with this. Average film, but quite interesting. 👍
Shall watch 👍 Thanks :)
You want to control the internet via one login? Who is going to enforce that? And not all anonymous content is trolling.
Agree not all anonymous accounts are trolls. And btw, having 1 login was just a random thought. Know it has both + and - implications!
Just expressed my thoughts on whether it cud be a possible way to control trolling !
These fake IDs only aid these trolls in spreading hatred!
The biggest example of a network of people getting worse for its users over time is Religion, twitter has nothing on it
Yahoo answers, Flickr, YouTube (before they at least tried to tidy up comments)
is/was Flickr really a network? And did it become less valuable by having more photos? I don’t see that.
It certainly positioned itself as one (I'm ex yahoo) - and then I'd argue with volume came spam / adult / and then exodus of creativity
Quora was much more valuable in the early days IMHO. Was community of people passionate about topics. Lot of rubbish on there now.
I thought Usenet had better tools for ignoring the tools, though maybe I’m just misremembering.
Why did you stop using usenet?
couldn’t get programs to run on my machines! Became too much slog making them run, + negotiating with newsfeed providers - ISP didn’t offer.
that’s a great post of yours from 2016.
The underlying problem applies to email and blogging too, and indeed anything that becomes popular. See…
but I’m specifically thinking of cases where value to early users falls drastically as it expands. FB seems not to. Instagram seems not to.
Facebook has gone from being the Junior Common Room to an awkward family wedding in terms of what you talk about there.
will take your word for it. Haven’t been on in weeks, stretching towards months.
Exactly - for my sons at uni it stopped being the student union bar, and became the wall outside that you flyposted your gigs on
Instagram now pings me daily with the equivalent of postcards in phone boxes and desperate attempts to make me watch people's holiday slides
worth distinguishing between efforts of network owners to promote engagement, and what people on network are like.
Just as "you've got mail!" being worthy of an excited venal notification is a thing of the past
Hah s/venal/verbal/ though maybe vernal would fit more. You could drop an iron bar and have it grow into a lamppost back then.
CIX, and of course Usenet post AOL?
I would say Facebook is worse
Reverse that.....the cost of not joining increases.
No. The “cost” (measured in mental energy, stress, etc) rises from joining; not joining or not taking part = no penalty bcs not abused etc.
Is Reddit a network? A social network? I can see arguments both ways.
You comment on things and get voted up and down. And it's definitely *social*, lots of banter. Short a formal definition, would say yes.
I've probably said this before but: What's the difference between a social network and a BBS?
Maybe! Those of us on FidoNet, Cix, The Well, CompuServe, Prestel etc in the 1980s thought we were networking in some social ways ;-)
Every Reddit user has a page with all their posts on. You could interact with Reddit without ever seeing a post page -- just about.
True, though it's not why people use Reddit. It's just a quick way to find out if you're about to reply to a crazy whackjob ;-)
:) Kind of a sweeping statement unless it was a joke. Some ppl live on Reddit just as much as some on FB or Twitter or Snapchat.
The internet is obviously a network. People interact with each other socially on it. Maybe the term *is* meaningless.
The "network" in any "social network" is, arguably, always TCP/IP
Historically, of course, that isn't true. And that it's true today is irrelevant...
Is it, when *all* the internet uses it?
Suspect that if we had a formal definition, Reddit would fit it better than Twitter. Or maybe the term is meaningless.
How about this: A BBS, like reddit, is organized around topics whereas a social network is organized around identifiable people.
"identifiable"? Am I identifiable? Are those with pseudonomous Facebook ID's? If not, that seems overly narrow.
And with the introduction of profiles where you can follow people, Reddit is quietly turning into a social network.
eBay, for different reasons but same result
Id argue it has become more valuable. Lots of fantastic people arrived over time in areas of interest outside of tech.Abuse is a problem tho
Velocity of tweet per user has increased too as its nature transitioned to discussion. There were a lot of mundane posts back then :)
Twitter and Facebook both have become exercises in pain post one big troll- Donald Trump. I miss pre-Trump social (and pre-Trump America).
a little yes, a little no? I suspect this is also a function of the individual's level of popularity.
Many networks/services become vast spam factories if you're noticeable. Being visible or vulnerable is often problematic as scale increases.
In this respect, twitter's mechanisms are some of the fastest at bringing you unwanted attention. The cost is something more like email spam
I think the issue is not the social network aspect of twitter: it's that it's interactive media consumption.
For e.g. Scale makes this convo probably marginally better. The public square's still there, but inevitably polluted for early users.
But many use twitter like a tv, flipping through channels/convos/tweets before deciding which one to stop and pour their attention into.
No replacement for real human contact.
Speaking as a troll, I would include the entire web itself as such an example & fueled by Google AdSense!
Isn't email the same? Back in the arpanet days every email was real. Even private corporate email systems became less useful when +internet
See what @bobbie said in his thread reply to me.