Link Roundup: April 2021

How Facebook got addicted to spreading misinformation | MIT Technology Review – Since Cambridge Analytica, Facebook has made efforts to make their algorithms more responsible.  However, it seems they ended up focusing on AI bias, which is surely a worthy problem, but distinct from the problem of Facebook feeding polarization and extremism.  The problem is that fighting polarization and extremism is anti-engagement and anti-growth, and simply not in Facebook’s interests.

There’s also an interesting bit discussing different kinds of fairness, such as equality in moderation standards, vs equality in moderation outcomes (the latter favoring conservative viewpoints more).  That just puts in mind a twisted version of one of those equality vs equity memes (which TBH I do not care for).

Transsexual, Transgender, Trans… and that damn asterisk | Pervert Justice – Last month, I had some tangential discussion of “trans*”, which had briefly become popular in the early 2010s, and suffered backlash after a few years.   Crip Dyke explains how its history goes much further back to the 1990s.  And indeed, the term did make more sense at the time, when transsexual and transgender were more distinct categories, and more care was needed to navigate trans* politics.

Death in Video Games | Tessly Gay | – An essay written for the Critical Distance List Jam, it discusses how death is dealt with in several different games.  I like the discussion of diegetic vs exegetic death.  Diegetic means that the death occurs in-universe, for instance in Nier: Automata when you die, a new body is created for you, and you can go back and find your previous body.  This is in contrast to games with exegetic death, where if you die, the game just goes “oops, let’s pretend that didn’t happen”.  I also thought the interpretation of What Remains of Edith Finch was on point, talking about how the different characters have different ways of mourning.

Private Schools Have Become Truly Obscene | The Atlantic – On the wild world of elite private schools.  After reading the article, I had a realization: I went to an elite high school myself, although not as elite as the particular examples discussed.  It’s difficult for me to speak to the experience, since a lot of school operations went over my head, and because I’m not prone to school performance anxiety.  But, there were lots of fundraising drives, expensive construction projects, and students from very wealthy families.  At the same time, it was ethnically diverse, being majority non-White.

Moving Onward | Splice Today – Tris explains how they left the American Humanist Alliance, and the atheist movement in general.  I consider myself to have “left” the atheist movement in 2017, and at that point I felt like you’d have to be crazy to stay.  But then I didn’t have any organizational attachments like Tris, and did not feel like I was making any meaningful contribution.  Much respect to Tris for having the strength to stay longer than I did, and also having the strength to leave it behind.

ETA: In case anyone is interested, I also published an article on The Asexual Agenda this month about autochorissexuality.  It’s a sexual identity you’ve probably never heard of, and most of my article is about the ethos of obscure identity labels.

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