After last month's vow to curb targeted harassment and make the site a safer platform for all users, the admins of Reddit began making good on that promise yesterday by banning five offensive subreddits deemed guilty of doxxing, brigading, and otherwise tormenting others, including /r/fatpeoplehate -- a militantly anti-HAES forum whose attacks had recently extended to the admins of popular image host Imgur. In reaction, the 150K subscribers of FPH and their sympathizers in other fringe subreddits went on a rampage, creating countless clones (all banned), filling the front page with hate posts, and disregarding the veneer of free-speech activism to viciously slander Reddit CEO Ellen Pao personally. The dissenters advocate a mass exodus of the hate subs to Voat.co [obligatory_wonka.gif], a moderation-free clone of Reddit that has already crashed under the traffic. Ongoing coverage by the enlightened popcorn-munchers of SubredditDrama. [more inside]
As part of an emerging online technologies project, the BBC set up Island Blogging in the early 2000s to allow residents of three groups of sparsely populated and often windswept Scottish islands (the Outer Hebrides or Western Isles, Argyll and Clyde Islands and the Northern Isles) to blog for free. As nearly all were on often unreliable dial-up, the service was simple and web-based, allowing comments (by anyone) and posts and pictures (blogging residents only). Moderation and rules were light; controversies were infrequent. [more inside]
The most recent episode of the Ruby Rogues podcast — #179 Accountability and Diversity with Meagan Waller — is a treasure trove of insights and info about unconscious biases, diversity, employment, culture, tech, and more. The podcast page features a timestamped topic outline of the discussion, as well as many links to the Ruby community websites, projects, studies, conferences, and controversies they discuss… [more inside]
"Advertising is not well. Though companies supported by advertising still dominate the landscape and capture the popular imagination, cracks are beginning to show in the very financial foundations of the web. Despite the best efforts of an industry, advertising is becoming less and less effective online. The once reliable fuel that powered a generation of innovations on the web is slowly, but perceptibly beginning to falter. Consider the long-term trend: when the first banner advertisement emerged online in 1994, it reported a (now) staggering clickthrough rate of 78%. By 2011, the average Facebook advertisement clickthrough rate sat dramatically lower at 0.05%. Even if only a rough proxy, something underlies such a dramatic change in the ability for an advertisement to pique the interest of users online. What underlies this decline, and what does it mean for the Internet at large? This short [PDF] paper puts forth the argument for peak advertising—the argument that an overall slowing in online advertising will eventually force a significant (and potentially painful) shift in the structure of business online. Like the theory of Peak Oil that it references, the goal is not to look to the immediate upcoming quarter, but to think on the decade-long scale about the business models that sustain the Internet." [more inside]
Rodrigo Davis of the MIT Center for Civic Media is currently researching crowdfunding for civic and community purposes. Some of the issues he covers includes the ethics of crowdfunding (including Kickstarter's seduction guide debacle and Gawker's attempt to crowdfund a video showing Toronto Mayor Rob Ford smoking crack), a case study of Kansas City's crowdfunding campaign for their bikeshare program, a timeline of online crowdfunding since 2000, and how the Statue of Liberty was made possible via crowdfunding.
How The Economic Machine Works by Ray Dalio actually makes a case against austerity and for redistribution, but also for money printing (and, arguably, for bailouts), while stressing the need to keep making productivity-improving public and private investments. However, it could be equally entitled: How The Industrial Age Political-Economy Doesn't Work Anymore, viz. Surviving Progress (2011)... [more inside]
Reflecting upon 14 years of blogging and observing internet communities, Anil Dash proposes 10 Rules of the Internet, based upon the lessons that he learned during that time. (via ★interesting; anildash previously on Metafilter)
Paul F. Tompkins and Allison Brie talk Community and Mad Men and then they create unsexy gifs and imitate various internet memes.
"Once universally praised for founder Brad Fitzpatrick’s open-source platform and commitment to a free userbase—he once vowed that LiveJournal would always have basic (non-paying or ad-supported) accounts—LiveJournal is known these days mostly for being popular in Russia (the Russian name for blogging is “LJ.”) and Singapore, and for housing gossip blog Oh No They Didn’t."
At reddit we care deeply about not imposing ours or anyone elses’ opinions on how people use the reddit platform. We are adamant about not limiting the ability to use the reddit platform even when we do not ourselves agree with or condone a specific use. We have very few rules here on reddit; no spamming, no cheating, no personal info, nothing illegal, and no interfering the site's functions. Today we are adding another rule: No suggestive or sexual content featuring minors. - After much complaint, Reddit gets rid of /r/jailbait and selected subreddits with similar content.
If your website is full of assholes, it's your fault. from Anil Dash. [more inside]
Fifteen years ago this week, programmer Ron Britvich launched version 1.0 of Active Worlds. Started as an autonomous project of Worlds, Inc. (a spinoff of educational gamesmaker Knowledge Adventure), Active Worlds was one of the first and most ambitious attempts to create a 3D virtual community on the web. Built on the architecture of Britvich's Worlds Chat beta, Active Worlds debuted in the form of Alphaworld, a sunny green infinite plane open to public building. In its opening years Alphaworld experienced a land rush of construction, resulting in an anarchic starfish sprawl larger than the state of California. A sister company, Circle of Fire, was soon founded to craft additional themed hubs, and once individual ownership of worlds became possible the AW community spawned a veritable universe of hundreds of worlds. Although the company has seen its ups and downs since those heady times and its fortunes have slowly dwindled, the Active Worlds platform survives to this day. Look inside for a simple guide on how to log in to the (free) service, rundowns of the best worlds, links to essays analyzing the program's legacy, and other content summing up its venerable community. [more inside]
The tech business world has forever hyped the idea of "virtual communities," but it appears that the internet is actually making us more connected. Back in 1967, Stanley Milgram (of Milgram Experiment fame), proposed that we are all connected, on average, by six degrees of separation. The idea rapidly entered the popular consciousness, spawning a parlor game, and a hit play (and subsequent movie.) [more inside]
How to act on an internet forum. Yup, just a single link to a video – informative on how to behave nevertheless. Even here on Metafiler. [more inside]
Something heavy weighing on your heart? Confess. Mom Confessions. Dad Confessions. Office Confessions. Bride Confessions.
Reality Sandwich is a new web magazine whose subjects "run the gamut from sustainability to shamanism, alternate realities to alternative energy, remixing media to re-imagining community, holistic healing techniques to the promise and perils of new technologies." Daniel Pinchbeck, the author of Breaking Open the Head, is the editorial director of the site. [Via Disinformation.]
Hansdehar - rural life in India.
Cyberbullying Report. It's a Microsoft sponsored report talking about intimidation and bullying online. Here's a digested version of the survey [PDF]. And don't forget your dose of Cyber Wellness, too.
Are you "e-fluential"? It's possible you are without even knowing it--you never know who might be listening in. While I don't find all gadget/soft drink/product discussions insidious, it does seem like they pop up pretty regularly. Has anyone here been contacted? Or are these companies (and others like them) just targeting product-oriented boards?
The First Community Blog? Five years ago today, Caleb Donaldson pulled the plug on Geek Cereal, a social experiment that began on March 21, 1996. Some of the links don't work like they should anymore, but the calendar will get you to all the juicy bits. An interesting little time capsule. The site's demise is mentioned in this Ghost Sites 1997 obit, and in this virtual eulogy from Caleb's dad on MIT's website.
Garageband is out of business. Damn. For any aspiring musicians/bands (myself included), this was a really nice service. Upload your original MP3, get reviews from other bands, etc.. Another dot com flameout? Whaddaya think?
Internet Community Conference Started by Rusty from Kuro5hin, I nominate matthowie since he's so keen on neat speeches as of late
"Ah, the vibrant interaction of electronic conversation. Isn't it beautiful? In a word: No." A pessimistic take on "community."
Bike Messengers Love IndyMedia -- Bike messenger Harim Veracruz says that the IndyMedia site has been "a godsend" for him and his colleagues. "All the messengers are using it," he said. "There's a map of the city, information on who is going to be where, what parts of the city to avoid, how to get from here to there fast, even restaurant recommendations. It's a very helpful site." Veracruz said he's even "gotten educated as to why these people are so angry" by reading some of the political news on the site, and is considering joining a protest walk to the U.N. on Friday.