Ten things on Twitter that are already breaking

Twitter laid off 50% of its employees and 80% of its contractors, and then at least 16% more of its employees quit. At this point, I am massively rooting for Twitter to fail–purely for selfish reasons, as a tech worker who wouldn’t like to see CEOs rewarded for mistreating tech workers.

Last Friday, #RIPTwitter was trending on Twitter, and people seemed to think Twitter would stop working at any moment. I think the more likely timescale is not days, but months–but that’s just what I hear from people who work in that area. The website may not disappear immediately, but we’ll see a deterioration of services, eventually losing something that proves essential. I’m so interested to see what will deliver the killing blow.

Although Twitter seems to be working for now, we can actually see various services breaking in real time by tracking complaints on the r/Twitter subreddit. I did not confirm these issues, and some might only affect a certain subset of users, or may arise from pre-existing issues. But I think there’s a good chance that Twitter 2.0 is to blame. Here’s a top ten list so far.

[Read more…]

The collapse of Twitter

On legitimate surprise

A game that sticks in my mind is “You Are Jeff Bezos“, a free text-based adventure where you wake up as Jeff Bezos and try to spend all your (Jeff Bezos’) money. One option is “Buy Twitter and delete his account”, for 50 billion dollars. This game is from 2018, so it’s referring to the traitor in chief, scourge of democracy. A wish fulfillment fantasy.

Back here in the real world, Trump got banned in 2020, and it seemed like Elon Musk was doing the reverse, buying Twitter specifically to unban his account. That’s what I thought would happen, and perhaps it still will. What I did not expect, is whatever mess is going on now–an exodus of users, employees, and advertisers.

The surprise is worth noting. It would be easy for an Elon-hater to claim that they knew this would happen all along, but did they really? It’s okay to admit that Elon Musk surpassed expectations.

[Read more…]

Participation trophies

My husband, an older millenial, asked “Were participation trophies ever a real thing?” He never got any–at most he got some participation ribbons. But yes, participation trophies were absolutely literal physical objects. Myself, a mid-millenial, got a few of the things.

But in the public conversation, the metaphor of the participation trophy has overtaken their physical reality.

Yeah, I got a few of the participation trophies, back when I played soccer in grade school. I was awful at soccer. In retrospect, our whole team was bad, being composed of a bunch of kids who may or may not have been forced into it by their parents. But at the time I felt like I was particularly bad, like I dragged the whole team down, and I didn’t understand why I was there at all. I got a trophy for doing that, every year.
[Read more…]

Link Roundup: November 2022

I’ve been busy the past month!  The Ace Community Survey released its annual survey, and a 140 page report on an earlier survey.  I also wrote a long blog post about the intersection of asexuality and being a nerd, in which I complain about a certain fictional asexual physicist on a show I have never watched.

Google’s Caste-Bias Problem | The New Yorker – An interview with a former Google employee, who tried to organize a DEI event about caste discrimination.  Google got complaints from other employees about the event, and it got “postponed”, which seems to really mean it was cancelled.  Instead, the organizer of the event was given a warning, and then she resigned.  Apparently it’s a common stance among conservative (?) Hindus that caste discrimination just doesn’t exist and that to even speak of caste discrimination is anti-Hindu discrimination.  As a social justice activist, I learn to be humble about axes of marginalization that I am unfamiliar with–but I’m confidently unsympathetic with that point of view.  For members of a majority group to deny that the minority group experiences discrimination, that’s an all too common pattern, and presumably cross-cultural.

Why Queer TV is Getting Worse | verilybitchie (video, 45 min) – Verity Ritchie talks about “gaystreaming”, content that is gay but otherwise does everything it can to appeal to mainstream tastes.  There’s discussion of Heartstopper, contrasted with the work of Desiree Akhivan, topped with a discussion of the economics of streaming services like Netflix.  I love it.

As I pointed out in my review of Heartstopper, its gentle low-stakes story is common in the queer webcomic genre it comes from–but I don’t think that’s what makes it particularly amenable to being mainstreamed.  What makes it mainstreamable is that its author is clearly passionate about educating people about queer issues: modeling good behavior, denying stereotypes, and explaining relevant issues.  This is valuable to straight people who clearly need that education, and also for queer people, for whom learning about being queer is an important part of personal development.  But it also confines the webcomic to issues that are simple enough to be widely teachable, and the story may not reflect the messy realities of queer lives.  Following ace admiral I call this “checklist representation“, which is primarily concerned with checking off all the things required for a “good” representation.

[Read more…]

Origami: Rhinoceros


Rhinoceros, designed by Nguyen Hung Cuong

When I folded this model back in 2016, I was challenging myself to fold it without explicit instructions.

Traditionally, people fold origami by following folding diagrams, which list out the steps in sequential order.  However, at more advanced levels, you can fold origami with nothing but a crease pattern, also called a CP.  A CP shows where all the essential creases will lie, if the paper were fully unfolded.  CPs provide information in a much more condensed format, and are far easier to create than folding diagrams, so it tends to be a lot easier to find CPs than full folding diagrams.

Below the fold I have a few tips for origamists interested in folding from CPs.

[Read more…]