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    • This story about Manal al-Sharif, a leader in the fight for Saudi women’s right to drive, is pretty chilling.

      “Twitter is really a powerful tool, and its being used against us,” she said, before closing the account, which has nearly 300,000 followers. In a video posted the next day on YouTube, she said Twitter had saved her life as a campaigner in Saudi Arabia, but today had become a playground for mobs of “trolls, pro-government mobs and bots”, many paid for by oppressive governments.

      The video she posted where she deleted her Twitter account with her 300,000 followers:

      Among the things she said in the video:

      People I know, people I trusted -- people I'd thought were friends, and who have critical thinking -- they've been brainwashed by the messages being pushed by the pro-Saudi government (voices), in a way that is horrendous. I ... I wonder is this really happening? Is this really true?

      We need to create social media that is decentralised, that can be used to push for the truth, and cannot be bought. That doesn't have the business model of Twitter which is based on who pays, and they don't care about anything but how many people are signing up for accounts.

      What do you think? Will it be decentralized or a model more like we're pursuing at Cake?

    • If people want to remove a central point of control (and censorship or failure) then decentralised, federated social media is required. If they want reactive support that responds to their needs quickly and updates frequently then small unit centralised social media is required.

      Just thinking wildly here … How about a standardised set of message protocols that would allow people on disparate social media platforms to interact? Say a Cake site (centralised) being able to hook into a conversation on a Disapora* site (federated) with members on both systems able to interact.

    • A close kin to harassment is an environment so biased that those with differing views feel unwelcome. Only the most confrontational of Sanders supporters is going to hangout in a place which is made up of 99% supporters of a free market libertarian individualist mindset.

      I dropped out of the political world a few years ago and for the last 3 years I have been very glad that I had made that decision.

      There are only a few news places that provide a reasonably balanced viewpoint. Here is a link to a post that I made on Google+ in Feb. 2017 regarding the way in which "The Washington Post" has improved its balance in recent years: https://plus.google.com/111984526349492831717/posts/TuTG1u2cHU2

      In the last week, Cake.co has begun to appear more and more biased. I would be sorry if Cake becomes less like the Washington Post and more like the Huffington Post or Fox News.

    • Chris MacAskill

      Hmmm, the analysis I usually see of The Washington Post is it skews left. My small set of right-leaning friends think of it as far left.

      I think the hard thing for people like me and @ChrisJenkins is if we support a Republican candidate because we like their policies, then we're biased to the right. If we speak out about Trump's tariffs or relationship with the truth, then we are lefties. The Washington Post has been hard on the Trump family and I think that's what leads my friends to think they are far left.

    • The easiest way to figure out the politics of the crowd I'm talking to is whether I'm called a treehugging libtard or a jackbooted rethuglican.

      In actuality, I've been No Party Affiliated since 1994. Voted a little right, voted a little left, voted a little third party.

      Trump is the worst president I've seen in my lifetime. On that, the Left and I agree.

    • Traditionally, when the Grahams ran the Post, it was undoubtedly liberal. However, in recent years it moved more towards a balanced position. It's probably still a little left of center, but not nearly as far too the left as most of the NPR news hosts are.

      I do not consider the Post's reactions to Donald Trump to be a reliable guage upon which to measure its general stance.

      I'm not even sure that it is possible to classify the man Donald Trump as right or left. I think that he caters to the right in order to build his constituency but I question whether he is idealistically to the right. He also seems to have some personal fixations regarding certain issues but it's difficult to assign those to a common fundamental paradigm.

    • I'm a bit different in my viewpoint. I reckon the investors are more to blame than the company hierarchy. Look what happens when Facebook or Twitter actually try to do something: their stocks get sold off by disgruntled investors worried that their future bank balances might not grow quite as fast. I am all for building personal wealth as a hedge against future calamity, but when that desire for never ending capital growth overwhelms social responsibility I get … peeved.

    • Trump would have to be the ultimate centrist, with himself firmly at the front and centre of everything he does. I doubt he thinks of himself as left or right at all. I've yet to see him actually support a cause that doesn't either affect his bank balance or support the fantasies of his voter base.

    • My viewpoint is just like yours and I'm very close to the problem. The issue is grow fast or the investors will find someone who will or not invest in you in the first place.

      The big players behind Facebook and Twitter were very young men who were beholden to very young men investors whose only metric they were measured against was return on investment.

    • This is why its not a great idea to get investment from traditional investors.

      Look at Apple's history. Look at why Jobs was ousted. Look at what happened more recently with Icahn.

      Unless you have people who are more in love with a tech vision than they are with immediate profit (:cough: Tesla :cough:) the profit seekers are going to sabotage the vision to grab the profit.

    • Hmmm, I'm seeing NPR a little closer to center on most media bias charts than The Washington Post.

      In terms of media that has the most informed listeners, it always seems like NPR comes out on top with Fox on the bottom, no? In fact Fox viewers were less able to answer questions correctly than people not exposed to news:

      I wonder if this is related:

    • James

      I base my views of the Post and NPR on my own exposure to them. The Post sometimes surprises me in the way that it handles a news story that involves people on the right. NPR however is usually very predictable.

      I rarely am exposed to Fox News.

    • There are many countries where people feel that there voice is not heard. Sometimes in America, a political movement begins because of such feelings. John Anderson, Ronald Reagan, Ross Perot, Barack Obama, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump all began outside of their parties's establishment.

      Side Note: Reagan was defeated in 1976 and George H. W. Bush ran against him as the establishment candidate in 1980 similar to the way Hillary Clinton ran against Barack Obama in 2008.

      Regardless of how I may view these disparate examples, what I recognize about the American system is that it allows people to be heard.

      I cannot understand how someone can accept the philosophy of Cider House Rules and support abolishing the federal system and replacing it with Urban suppression of rural America. Nor can I understand those who want to abolish completely (as opposed to amending) the process of changing the constitution which involves all the states and replace it with a SCOTUS oligarchy. Such things are cauldrons of pent up resentment.

      The people who elected Donald Trump in the primaries to be the GOP candidate did so for reasons which reflect their pent up feelings. The fact that I do not share most of those feelings (or possibly any of them) does not mean that I have never felt silenced. Trump will not be President forever. I've endured other presidencies whose policies I did not like, I can endure his presidency.

    • The way I see it, is that centralized models are subject to their owner's policies and set of moral rules. It's impossible to operate without rules, let alone understand why someone would put efforts into maintaining a way to primarily enable others voice their thoughts out to the world. The problem seems to be when business starts conflicting with ethics, the latter getting in the way of making profit.

      But I'll tell a story to hopefully set some perspective on passion vs. profit, which really it's all this is about, in the end, be it passion for truth or anything else. Many years ago I used to fix consumer electronics, tube TV's, cassette decks, radios, what have you.. anything that used to be in the 80's era. I did it as a hobby, never advertised yet always had more work than I wanted, by simple word of mouth. And when I asked for a price I usually got more than that. I was very content and so were my clients. That this involved riding a motorcycle through some remote dusty country side roads, and sometimes even accepting payments in produce rather than money, as well as getting invited to sit for lunch or dinner and drinks with the families, was a priceless part of my experience, which wouldn't have happened if I was doing this just for the money. In fact I never really cared much if I made money or just was breaking even, or less. I *knew* and felt it was all good.

    • This afternoon the guest on "Fresh Air" was David Kaplan. Let's just say that if most of NPR was the kind of thing that I heard Mr. Kaplan say today, I would not view NPR as having a left wing bias. Mr. Kaplan was very balanced in his discussion of SCOTUS.

    • Wow, Kara Swisher had an incredibly powerful article yesterday:

      I was obviously very wrong. Instead, the internet gave people like him the space to grow and thrive. Tech made no real rules, claiming the freedom from any strictures would be O.K. in what is the greatest experiment in human communications ever.

      We have no idea how to deal with this situation, except to watch it play out over and over again, and allow it to kill us cell by cell.

    • I think he's an autocrat, not a partisan.

      That's my view of how he sees himself, too. Over the weekend I listened to this Hidden Brain episode about the psychological effects of scarcity and abundance in people's lives. In the latter half of the episode Brooke Harrington talks about her experience as a wealth manager. The extremely wealthy live very different lives from the rest of us.

      It's almost literally unimaginable. National borders are nothing to them. They might as well not exist. The laws are nothing to them. They might as well not exist.

      The podcast made me think of Trump. I think he's lived a life of privilege in which he can basically do whatever he wants without consequence and he expects the same in presidency.

    • What do you think? Will it be decentralized or a model more like we're pursuing at Cake?

      Why do I need to choose?

      My don't have conversations in just one room, in just one house, in just one city, with just one group of people. I have lots of conversations in restaurants, holes, game stores, conventions. I not only talk to people in my hometown but people outside of it. I talk to people that I like and people that I don't like, people that agree with me and people that don't.

      And some of those conversations take place using one means of facilitation and some of those conversations take place using another.

      I don't have to choose.

      Some conversations are best had via some sort of decentralized architecture, one resistant to censorship or control, single point failures or authoritarianism. As a result, they are impossible to control, impossible to police, impossible to moderate, and generally involve immoderate people. People with freedom often tend to use it.

      Some of those conversations occur via an extremely moderated platform, whether it be social media or a convention panel. They are constrained, restricted, moderated, and beyond my own control for the most part – unless I am the authoritarian in this context. They have a different tone, and those who tend to participate in them do so with a conscious awareness of the restrictions of the context.

      Now, if I had to pick one system as a protocol, it would always be the decentralized model. I would rather tolerate the threat of the presence of people I don't want to hear from, about, or of, than tolerating the constant presence of an authority who controls my speech who isn't me.

      But it's a false choice. No one has to make it.

      Moreover, even Cake could exist outside of a centralized architecture. For the most part. It would have to give up the idea that the taxonomy is ultimately impositional and acccept that a ground-up folksonomy would be the way things would be, and perhaps promote a tag-based taxonomy derived from usage rather than imposed from above – though even that might be a reasonable thing to possess if it were a suggested authority rather than a mandated one.

      In a real sense, nothing would keep Cake from being implemented on top of, say, Secure Scuttlebutt with a suggested taxonomy and gossip-passing connectivity. It would solve a lot of problems that arise in both contexts (though do nothing for several others, but that's a general feeling of social media design at the moment and nothing specific to either).

      There are some problems that are just endemic to working with humans. We can work around them, but we can't solve them.

    • On the topic of structured and unstructured conversation

      This post reminded me of my years of moderating the Scrivener Users community on Google Plus. There were many other communities on Google Plus and people could also post public posts outside of communities. But within the Scrivener Users community, the focus was on conversations which centered around using a software application named Scrivener. If someone tried to write a post describing why people should read a book that they had recently written (not one about using Scrivener) it was suggested that this post be published outside of the community. Keeping the community focused was beneficial to those people who visited the community for the purpose of discussing the program for which the community was formed.

      Yet at the same time, I like to discuss other subjects and sometimes enjoy conversations which can head off in any direction.

    • There were many other communities on Google Plus and people could also post public posts outside of communities.

      If Google+ had a killer app portion of the architecture, it was Communities. So much so that it's a shame that no other social media platform really took up the mantle of trying to allow people to create those contextual spaces where they could run things in different ways.

      In a sense, that is the core of Cake's strengths, that there is contextual space explicitly attached to every conversation.

      I have a current theory of social media architecture which I need to seriously get down an actual text but which hinges on the idea that once you create local spaces, and local sub-spaces, allowing them to expand dynamically can get you to situations where you have communities which have areas which are focused on topic or methodology or subject or whatever, and areas which are allowed to be more free-form because the rest of the locality is more strict.

      But it requires more time in the oven to cook.

    • However, I think that each of these Cake Conversations has an implied obsolescence point. A community on G+ could thrive for years. I suspect that Cake Conversations will be viewed as "zombies" if revived by an addition several weeks after the previous last post.

      What is your thoughts on this @Chris ?

    • However, I think that each of these Cake Conversations has an implied obsolescence point. A community on G+ could thrive for years. I suspect that Cake Conversations will be viewed as "zombies" if revived by an addition several weeks after the previous last post.

      Which is exactly why I would like to introduce the idea of persistent locality, a context in which conversations could and would remain relevant, in some cases even evergreen.

      Though I am uncomfortable with the idea of any conversation having built-in obsolescence. A conversation is useful and good just as long as there are participants who are getting use and good out of it. I can certainly think of threads in other venues which have persisted for years as people drifted in and out of them, bringing different perspectives, with the conversation mutating and progressing.

      If anything, this is a strong argument for seriously considering another level of abstraction between "topics" and "conversations." Topics definitely persist, but they are entirely too broad to allow people to create their own niches for groups of conversation to flourish within, unless we allow them to dynamically create those topics and publicize those topics (the mechanisms for doing so being currently in place but a little strange).

    You've been invited!