Please eschew the Twitter-Virtue Olympics

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Please eschew the Twitter-Virtue Olympics.

As Musk sullies up the place, and Trump throws his tantrum, and the Nazis, anti-Semites, racists, and other slobs throw their vacuous weight around, many people are considering leaving Twitter, or have already left. Others have chosen to stay until some threshold is reached, and still others don’t have solid plans to leave, and that lack of planning is often intentional, they’ve just decided to stay for one reason or another.

As intentions are declared, we sometimes see a virtue-based argument advanced, and in one out of five* of those cases, the virtuous justification for staying/waiting/leaving comes along with an urgent plea or even a demand that other so the same.

Stop doing that shit, please.

A friend told me he’d had enough, with Trump coming on (which he hasn’t actually done yet) and he can’t stomach being there. I get that. I have similar intestinal reactions. Today I had lunch with someone in the voting biz, who said, “I can’t leave Twitter, because so much of the election protection community is operating there, it would be irresponsible.”

Another person told me they’d prefer to leave behind Musk and Trump, but she also didn’t believe that Musk will own Twitter for much longer. Others have noted that they don’t want to be here but also want to see it collapsing from the inside. No one can turn away from the train wreck. This may be a unique opportunity to watch the train crash from inside the train.

Some have made the argument that their data will be stolen if security lapses. There’s a good argument there, if Twitter has your credit card, but I’m not sure how leaving protects the information they already have. So maybe that isn’t a good argument.

I’m simply asking people to note that there is a very small chance that your particular decision as to what to do with Twitter is the absolutely correct decision, and that the argument you are making to justify your choice is the best possible argument. One in five chance you have it right*. So when you make the argument, and then attach to it an admonition to others who have a different argument that you are doing the right thing and they are not, you have a four in five chance* that you are being obnoxious, not wise. So, the smart money is on stating your case but with a framework of openness to other ideas, rather than using your decision to signal your virtue and smartness.

*These are of course totally made up numbers, but you get the point.

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8 thoughts on “Please eschew the Twitter-Virtue Olympics

  1. the impulse to watch the wreck as it happens and see the aftermath is more than I can fight. Having been on the bird since the start of 2009 I can’t help but want to be there to watch the muskrat blow it all up. I’m intrigued regarding his motivations for the absolute shitshow he’s created. For someone who is supposed to be a brilliant businessman he’s proving to be the exact opposite. Gotta stay and watch šŸ™‚ Nevertheless I do have an alternate account where life is a lot more pleasant (because than Twitter.

    1. I don’t think people who paid attention ever thought he was a brilliant businessman. He has a long history of failed promises for his businesses.

      He did do a great job hiring people and letting them work with his space program. Tesla – not so much. The satellite internet service? Probably too early to judge but trending to a low quality high cost service for the affluent.
      Twitter – the shit show everyone expected it to be (what is the status of the “pay for a name tag and we’ll call it verification” system now?).

      If he would have gotten out of the way and let the engineers who knew what they were doing work things might have begun to turn around, but he didn’t and they haven’t.

  2. Dean -couldn’t agree more. It’s the media that for so long were lauding his business acumen etc. that I was referring to.

  3. Iā€™m simply asking people to note that there is a very small chance that your particular decision as to what to do with Twitter is the absolutely correct decision, and that the argument you are making to justify your choice is the best possible argument.

    Obviously you need a metric. Since “free speech backer unless someone is mocking me” musk has been dismantling the content moderation group there and more of the right-wing fascists and scum of the republican party are appearing, along with anti-vaxx disinformation groups, the question for me is “how much of the lies and hatred from the right can I block before the effort becomes too much?” Twitter’s engineers were making progress on content, but that no longer seems to be important.

    I wonder how much musk’s realization that he greatly over-payed for twitter and is now on the hook for $1+ billion in interest per year has to do with this. There’s no way that the $8 per person “blue check name tag” thing will generate enough to pay that, so he must (more likely “may”) have some other plan to generate revenue. Creating his “system X” — the US version of the Chinese do everything app — as he’s hinted he wants to have will take time to develop and even if it can be, I wonder whether folks here will want to rely on one app that does everything and hoovers up all the data associated with that everything.

    Lots of things to think about for something like that — and since he’s a libertarian, thinking is not a strong point,

  4. I called it before he bought twitter. Musk is profoundly psychologically ill-equipped to run twitter. Content moderation is nearly impossible at that scale anyway. The format attracts and promotes low attention span people. When twitter first appeared my first thought was “Who thought that was a good idea?”. I have never and will never have a twitter account. It provides no service that I value. Structurally it is just a troll farm and there is no way to fix that structural flaw.

    1. Content moderation is nearly impossible at that scale anyway.

      Technically impossible but a good deal of the bad stuff can be filtered out: twitter’s team was making good progress. Of course, that team is now gutted to the point of being useless.

      But even FB, which is arguably worse simply because of its scale, can do a good job. The case of the shooter some years ago live streaming his horror to FB was dealt with amazingly fast by the FB team, but it kept popping up in ‘reruns’ because all people who had recorded parts of it had to do was make a small change and re-upload their version and the barriers designed for previous versions wouldn’t stop it.

      The more serious problem is that he now seems hell bent on releasing all the right-wing scum — given the results of the recent ‘poll’ about whether people who had been removed be allowed back in. For all of his claimed concerned about bots, he still used something that is fundamentally perfect for domination by bots. (Of course, internet “polls” like that are worthless anyway, so any result would be indicative of nothing serious.)

  5. Just regarding Trump, though –

    If he starts Tweeting again, then Truth Social will have no value for him. I think that’s the reason it doesn’t matter if he’s let back on.

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