Wil Wheaton Leaves Mastodon

I’m done with social media. Maybe I just don’t fit into whatever the social media world is. I mean, the people who are all over the various Mastodon instances made it really clear that I wasn’t welcome there (with a handful of notable, joyful, exceptions, mostly related to my first baby steps into painting), and it seems as if I was just unwelcome because … I’m me? I guess?

Folks are saying that community management is the solution. That if you have good tools in place, this sort of thing is avoidable. To that, I say: unless your community management system can scale to 7 billion users, it’ll never work. Technology can’t solve the problem; you’d have to change human behavior, and that’s not gonna happen.

An open-door policy means anyone can come in, and they will, and they’ll bring their hate and negativity and bigotry with them. Unless you control who gets in (either directly through moderation or indirectly through obfuscation or inserting on-boarding costs like fees or requiring certain technological know-how), the masses will show up. Some of them will bring their tiki torches.

This isn’t a solvable problem, at least not from a technological standpoint. It’s a problem inherent in who we are. People will always find a reason to dislike each other.

I think we should all follow Wil’s lead. Stop using social media. Delete our accounts. “Walk hand in hand into extinction. One last midnight. Brothers and sisters opting out of a raw deal.”

Or, at the very least, find some communities that are private or that present barriers to entry that trolls won’t or can’t cross. And then, when you’ve found a nice place to hang out, at least try to treat people decently.

Smart Home Is a Home That’s Always Spying on You

Om Malik:

I for one, refuse to use Alexa and Google Home in my apartment. I don’t trust them, much like I don’t trust Facebook. Apple seems to be doing a good job of keeping its nose clean, but who knows when they come under pressure from “activist” investors.

I can’t even trust Apple on this. My wife and I debated buying a HomePod, and we ultimately decided that no smart devices like this should ever be in our home. It’s a bit tinfoil-hat, but imagine the fun a government could have with these things. Tracking down illegal immigrants and dissidents could be as simple as tuning into a home’s always-on audio stream. No thanks.

Diversity and Inclusion at Micro.blog: Where We Are, Where We Want to Go

Jean MacDonald:

Micro.blog was built from the ground up to protect its users from the type of abuse so common on Twitter and elsewhere. In the Kickstarter campaign, Manton’s one stretch goal was to hire a community manager to be steward of this commitment. As our community takes shape, I feel strongly we have something to offer to those who have not felt welcomed on other social networks. For my part, I am reaching out to people whom I talked to a year ago and encouraging them to give Micro.blog a try, now that there is a fairly active community of users.

I’ve noticed more women signing up and actively participating on Micro.blog, which is really encouraging. I’m glad to see that inclusivity continues to be a driving force behind what they’re building.

A letter about Google AMP

A message from the open web to Google:

AMP keeps users within Google’s domain and diverts traffic away from other websites for the benefit of Google.

This isn’t new. Back in the day, we used to call this “content framing,” and it was A Thing You Are Not Supposed To Do. And you still shouldn’t. Shame on Google.

The Air Porter from Waterfield Designs

Joe Cieplinski wrote an incredibly detailed review of the new Air Porter bag from Waterfield.

Waterfield never fails to sweat the details on design. The Air Porter is no exception. Waterfield’s usual quality is evident everywhere when I look at this bag. The stitching is clean. The materials are of quality and free from defect. You even get a nice personal note in the box from the people who made your bag. This all adds up to a customer experience that is second to none. And no matter how many times I’ve ordered products from this company, that has never failed to be the case.

I’ve always considered Waterfield to be the Apple of bag design. Over the last fifteen years or so, I’ve ordered at least a dozen products from them, and I’ve always been beyond satisfied with the bags, Waterfield’s attention to detail, and their customer service. Just a great company.