I haven’t posted any bloggy things in a while, and I know folks start to worry if I haven’t posted in a while. So,
fluffy rambles (blogging)
Rambles that are fluffy, by fluffy
It’s been a while since I’ve posted. Here’s the stuff going on with me I guess.
Warning: ornery and cantankerous.
Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about some of the differences between self-hosted vs. silo spaces. One thing that really stood out to me is that in self-hosted spaces, the tendency is to allow complete control over which comments are visible, and silos almost never allow that, or if they do it’s at best an in-retrospect thing.
For example, most self-hosted blogging systems give you the ability to moderate all comments (as I do), or give easy access to deleting comments which got posted, or any number of mechanisms for curating the community.
But most silo systems don’t give you that access; you might be able to block recurring trolls, or flag a comment for third-party review (usually to no effect), but all posts are set to allow anyone (with access to the post) the ability to post anything at any time, and by default everything gets floated to everyone else.
This came especially to mind today because of this unfortunate video:
I’ve seen so many creators get burned out on what they like doing, because even if 99% of the comments are positive, that 1% really gets under their skin, and they stop creating.
I’ve seen so many creators get burned out on their communities, because even if 99% of it is positive, that 1% really gets under their skin, and they stop interacting with the community, turning it into a toxic cesspool.
I’ve seen so many creators decide to capitulate to the communities and set up a personal SubReddit that they designate other people to moderate, just to keep it contained somewhere else.
I know so many creators who are on the verge of burnout and getting really tired of the dark side of having an audience.
I’m not sure if giving people the ability to require commentary to be opt-in rather than opt-out would solve these problems, but I do know anecdotally that the random snipe-type responses I get from Twitter or Mastodon are way more annoying to me than the comments I opt not to post when submitted to my site. They’re out there and visible and I have to take extra steps to get rid of them, and it’s taken out of my hands as to whether I even can get rid of them.
I don’t think I like how webmention works.
For the past few days I’ve been having a major fibro flare so I was expecting this weekend to be a total waste. But somehow I ended up getting the wherewithal to do a bunch of things today.
Today I got my second dose of the Pfizer vaccine. Whew. I’m expecting the next few days to really suck with side-effects so I stocked up on a bunch of easy-to-make food. My dining room is still a bit of a disaster though, and right now it’s even worse because I took delivery of my new TV console today and the box is like… in the dining room. And a bunch of other boxes and stuff are on the table. Oops.
Yesterday I decided to take a break from social media. This was for a number of reasons, but they all boil down to my increasing frustration with how interactions occur in rapid-fire quick-sharing spaces, and this has been growing for quite some time.
The microblog format significantly changes the way people interact. Every post is short and taken out of context (while everyone expects everyone else to have the full context already), which makes it impossible to have a as meaningful conversation especially when a short notion spreads far and wide. I feel that it is a big part of what’s dividing everyone in a never-ending search for clout that devolves into a shouting match.
Anyway. Today I finally had my first appointment with the new rheumatologist. It went really well. I didn’t get any real new information, but at least this rheum is way friendlier and actually treats me like a human, rather than a pile of symptoms. Plus she actually listens to me and is interested in the things I’ve learned about fibromyalgia and so on.
Since my current meds aren’t doing enough for me, she offered two immediate possibilities, either switching the gabapentin with Lyrica (pregabalin), or supplementing it with Cymbalta. Both were things that the previous rheumatologist had suggested but I loathed working with him and never felt like going back1.
Oh I guess I haven’t blogged in a while. Like, a whole week. This can’t stand.
So, what am I up to?
Over on IndieWeb Chat, Kevin Marks linked to this wonderful essay about social media that is absolutely worth reading, and examines a part of the “personal social networking” thing I’ve been on a kick about lately but didn’t quite have the words for.
For me, a big part of the problem with social media as it stands today is that everything’s about fast, immediate, in-the-moment dissemination of Hot Takes and viral propagation and so on, and that’s a design that so many of the other indie-focused social networks are trying to replicate. I’m not much a fan of microblogging or protocols which exist to make it the norm (which is why I’m still not particularly interested in supporting ActivityPub natively in Publ!) and I like being able to take some time to expand on my thoughts and not have to chunk things up into 280-to-500-character chunks and worry about fixing my spelling and grammar and phrasing right then and there.
I like being able to sit on things for a few days, and add addendums without it being a whole new post, and I like having feedback come slowly and measured. Yes, I get quick replies and a variety of favorites-like reactions via Webmention and other things, and I do appreciate that in this little nichey corner of the web this is a way that people can interact with me, but I’m not really writing for an audience so much as writing for me and my friends, and hoping that the things I write also maybe resonate with folks who happen to read it.
I still use Twitter and Tumblr and Mastodon quite a lot (much more than I’d like, really) but that’s not how I prefer to interact with folks. I don’t even try to read everything that people post there, and I have no idea how anyone can think of timeline-oriented streams-of-updates services as a place where you’re going to be able to. I just occasionally glance at them to see what’s going on and maybe interact with others in the moment, and spend much more time wondering why the hell I even bother trying to communicate in that way beyond “it’s how everyone else communicates today.”
My big concern about my blogging habits here is that I’m mostly talking about the platform itself. Blogging about blogging is so dreary. Hopefully soon the new-toy shininess will wear off and I’ll get back to using this as a means of talking to my friends about other stuff. I certainly have a lot of other stuff coming down the pike, at least. Hopefully some of it turns out well.
I guess it’s mostly just that what I have to write about is what I’m working on, and this is (mostly) what I’m working on. If I were working on other things they’d be getting posted to other parts of my site.
Not-unrelatedly, I really want to get back into making comics.
Watts Martin writes:
There’s a lot of reasons people are down on Medium, Ev Williams' ongoing whatever-the-hell-it-is. It’s a platform! It’s a publication! It’s a platform for publications! It’s a clean, clutter-free reading experience, except for all the clutter!
There have been a few great stories written about this; my favorites are reporter Laura Hazard Owen’s “The long, complicated, and extremely frustrating history of Medium” and acerbic typographer Matthew Butterick’s “The Billionaire’s Typewriter.” (He occasionally updates this, most recently linking to Owen’s article.) Butterick critiques Medium’s design from an ethical standpoint, which turns out to be bang on point with Medium’s ultimate underlying problem:
Medium thinks it’s a brand.
The rest of the entry is very much worth reading, and is a great description of all the things I hate about Medium and why I wrote Publ and insist on hosting my own blog instead. And I’m sure is why there are so many other self-hosted blog engines available and getting stronger these days.