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On unfiltered content, social media followers and doing it better on Bitcoin SV

Every existing form of social media is based on the experience of being forced to view other people's content.

Does the ability to force people to view your content have any future? It is my opinion that any given user should have to opt in to see unfiltered content, and should be helped to filter the content they consume. I do not believe there is currently any social media, whether built on top of Bitcoin SV or not, that does this in any worthwhile fashion.

This article is about wanting social media that moves beyond the existing problems with existing social media. It will attempt to summarise the problem and hopefully encourage someone to make something that removes the inherent spam-based nature of social media.

What is this unfiltered content?

Do you remember when the studies came out that showed that people have a limited amount of willpower? If you are looking for good content that has value to you, then every piece of not good content that you have to be exposed has an cost in terms of both attention and attrition.

Hacker News

In order to find the posts that are of interest, any reader has to look at all the uninteresting posts that surround them and work out which is which. In order to find the comments that are of interest on a post, any reader has to look at all the uninteresting comments (and that is being generous) that surround them.

  • Comments are not only made by people who do not read the article, but it is against the rules to point this out. This breeds a community of encouraged lazy time-wasters. However it is not as easy as filtering out comments and banning commenters who do this, as it is not constructive to do so outright.
  • Unhinged people who believe politics must be forced into every argument, push politics into every argument. And people consider their political beliefs to be sacred. These people should be filtered out and told why.
  • NPCs respond with misguided negative-value talking points that get posted to all conversations on the topic. These people should be filtered out and told why.

And so on. I would estimate that if someone deleted the non-informative comments on Hacker News, that would be 99.9% of the comments. And similarly, 99% of the posts made are of no interest to me, or of questionable interest in the first place. There is no way to obtain a filtered view of Hacker News which removes all the frictional content that is presented unfiltered.

Reddit / Twitter

Reddit suffers from general problems that resemble Hacker News, but worse. I never visit Reddit any more.

Twitter

Twitter is all about unfiltered content. This is the primary example of the failure of the model where content is obtained by following another party. If you follow Bob who may post about Bitcoin SV development, you are now pushed probably every single political post or comment that Bob makes. Commenters here are also lazy, unhinged or NPCs. There are also Twitter features that are pushed into view, like "trending topics" that cannot be opted out of and are often complete nonsense like celebrity news. To retweet something is very similar to spam.

An example of me pushing potentially unwanted content on others, is where I post either links to blog posts to the ElectrumSV twitter account, or even selected types of ElectrumSV-related posts that do not directly relate to announcements or releases. Some people might not mind this, and others might find it imposes a cost to following the ElectrumSV account.

I consider Twitter fundamentally broken.

Twetch and Powping

These also offer unfiltered content. People might very well say, "but hey, when micropayments are involved then there will be a cost." What these projects currently show is that even though there is money involved, this produces a similar end result to Twitter. A large part of this is that they are posts, comments, following and no way to filter content. A more selective audience does make a difference, but perhaps only in scale.

Twetch in my experience was very unfiltered and pushes a lot of unfiltered content at the user. If a user wants a Bitcoin SV-based Twitter where posts can be monetised, then this is probably preferable to them.

I am not sure that Powping is used enough yet, for the problems to become too evident. But at it's core it is unfiltered posts and comments, and following people of interest, so it is the legacy model that results in the same problems.

Optimising time and attention

Why should I ever see all the stuff which has no value to me? Why should any random person be able to push content to me and force me to look at it? Why shouldn't I be able to only see the content that I am more likely to value?

As long as people can push unwanted content at you and force you to read it, a taxing cost exists for reading the wanted content that is mixed in with it. This costs in time spent, it costs in use of available attention span and willpower, and this provides a tainted experience.

The implications might be that someone should:

  • Be able to get only see posts that have a high chance of being a net plus to encounter.
  • Be able to only see comments that have a high chance of being a net plus to encounter.
  • Be able to impose a monetary cost on someone else pushing content at them, not to read that content, but to see and acknowledge that it was pushed.
  • Be able to pay someone else to out there and browser all the unfiltered content of mostly no value, and curate feeds that provide only net plus encounters.

So this might be a layer over the existing social media networks, where the social media networks are completely irrelevant except to the curators. The curators might grab content from any range of locations, and in the end it is perhaps summaries that they might curate and sell.

If curation is non-public and costs money (BSV), then curators are likely to have to selectively make some of their curation public in order to draw in subscribers.  Maybe there might be curators of curators. Who knows? 

Maybe there's a solution for this that goes in a completely different direction.

Summing up

This all stems from a comment I think I recall was made by Craig Wright on probably Metanet.ICU related to why he does not use Twitter. I don't remember exactly what he was getting at, and how it was similar to the above. But it was something along the lines of only showing content to select parties and not the NPCs, deranged or Bitcoin Core/Cash political warriors. Whether a curated private feed includes only summaries, interesting links or even just non-public articles is probably a minor detail - especially when someone who is not me has to do the work.

I do not follow anyone any more. Many of the people I already follow fill my screen with stuff that is not of the same value, and definitely not on the same subject as the stuff that I saw that made me follow them. I am sure I am not alone in this. This is not their fault, they are using the system as it was designed. But I think we can do better.

-- rt12 

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thecloudgallery tipped:
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The flip side of the argument is that I didn't ask to see your content but I'm glad I did...
Some good points. I appreciate being able to “block” users on PP which “thins” some of the noise but I know there has to be a better way.