Mike Masnick Profile picture
Nov 21 9 tweets 2 min read
I've seen tons of people talking about this both here and on Mastodon, with most using it to mock Mastodon, which... um... yeah... makes sense. Because it's obviously ridiculous and laughable.

But, the full story of what happened is actually really fascinating & educational...
I talk a lot about the "impossibility" of doing content moderation at scale well. And I often highlight how a lack of context, combined with the speed necessary to handle moderation tasks is a tricky combination. techdirt.com/2019/11/20/mas…
The admin of the instance that Tracy is on has admitted that this moderation decision was a mistake, and that the post has been reinstated. But, if you follow moderation stories, you know mistakes and reversals happen ALL THE TIME. Including here. It's not unique to Mastodon.
But, here's what's more interesting: unlike here and other corporate social media, where they might vaguely say a decision was "in error," here, there was a full explanation of how the mistake was made. That's actually different! And interesting!
Someone reported Tracy's original tweet, stating that Tracy's tweet was an "antisemitic dogwhistle" because it referred to "rich white men who hold power over all of us." Now, that's obviously ridiculous. Anyone understanding the context of her post should recognize it's not that
According to the instance admin, the report then was handed to a brand new moderator, who just began moderating today. And, at a time when there is (reasonably!) heightened concern about antisemitism, they got confused and made a mistake.
It's even possible that the "lack of context" issue worked in reverse here. Because the report came in claiming "antisemitic dogwhistle" it likely primed the inexperienced moderator to look for antisemitism where there clearly wasn't any.
There are lots of things to learn about content moderation, and folks on Mastodon are going to make tons of mistakes, just like every site that does any moderation makes tons of mistakes.
The real question is what people learn from it, and how they make changes and respond to their mistakes. The biggest companies have struggled with this as well. It'll be fascinating to see how a federated system does the same. So far, they chose transparently explaining.

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More from @mmasnick

Nov 15
I have come up with a made up conspiracy theory to explain why Musk seems to be trashing the value of Twitter. It's NOT true, because it would involve being able to think more than a single move ahead, but... it's the only theory I can come up with (beyond just winging it)...
Musk, stupidly, committed to paying $44 billion for Twitter. That was dumb. And he was too clueless to leave a clear out in the deal, so he eventually had to close the deal, after fighting it for months. During which time, the value decreased even more.
But, way back at the beginning, the banks committed to debt financing for $13billion of that. Which is a decent chunk. They, also, had no outs, so when Musk was forced into closing the deal, they were forced into taking on the debt...
Read 7 tweets
Nov 14
The other day I noted that I had come up with something stupid that made me laugh... and, well, here it is. Tremendous apologies to @DexysOfficial as you don't deserve this. And yet... /1
@DexysOfficial [Fiddle Tune]
Come on, Elon
Come on, Elon

[Verse 1]
Poor old Jack Dorsey

Dealt with trolls up in the Twitter verse
Liked a billion tweets and convos... /2
Our politicians lied!
Tweeted nonsense, we blame them!
You’ve paid (you’ve paid up)
So screwed (so paid up)
Now I must tweet more than ever
(Come on Elon)
Tweeters lose their checks
Tweeters pay for checks now!

And we can tweet just as if we’re bluechecks /3
Read 13 tweets
Nov 12
Huh. Oddly, both @onthemedia and @planetmoney's episodes today are about ebooks & libraries. Covering different, but related things!

OTM's piece about publishers fighting @internetarchive is good... but, makes numerous (frustrating) factual errors that I'm surprised about.
@onthemedia @planetmoney @internetarchive The OTM report falsely claims that the publisher's lawsuit was initially just about the National Emergency Library. It wasn't. It always include the Open Library.

Also, it falsely implies that ALL library ebook lending is via Controlled Digital Lending. Most is not.
@onthemedia @planetmoney @internetarchive Indeed, the @planetmoney episode details how most library ebook lending works AND why it screws over libraries (and, more importantly, the public). That's a big part of the reason CDL came about. But the OTM episode misrepresents all that, unfortunately.
Read 4 tweets
Nov 12
Gosh, why won't advertisers advertise on Twitter dot com. It must be the activists. Can't possibly be the threat to brand safety, no. Screenshot of a twitter acc...
And yes, it broke 1000 retweets (though I think it also just got taken down seconds ago — got this screenshot and then looked again and it was gone, though I see in this new screenshot there's no bluecheck any more.) Same fake Coca Cola tweet s...
Haha. Actually the bluecheck is in the screenshot, but when I went back to look at the account it was gone. Whatever. I have no edit button and nothing matters.
Read 4 tweets
Nov 11
Elon on Twitter payments is wild, wild stuff.  If you can simply have one balance on Twitter that can simp
Inspiring stuff from our social media overlord. "Wow, that was a great hour!" And we also want to expand to be sort of a multi-media platf
"And I'm like, I guess I kind of do have a bit of cult, but like, not everyone wants to be a cult member, you know?"  I think “subscriber” or some other word would probably
Read 5 tweets
Nov 9
Watching how Mastodon deals with moderation questions at scale (now that it has started to scale up) is absolutely fascinating.
I'll have more to say on this at some point soon, but it's been really, really amazing to watch in practice. Also, for the past couple years I've pushed back on the idea of federated systems as being the next great decentralized approach, but I'm coming around to it.
I still do have some concerns about how well it actually scales, and how the mechanisms @ShortFormErnie discusses might also lead to negative outcomes (deciding that some kinds of important speech are effectively forbidden, creating a Disneyfied kind of space). But... still...
Read 4 tweets

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