Thanks to @emacsomancer for forwarding to me this article about "demetrification" of social media (not showing like counts, follower counts, etc) and how dramatically user behavior is changed when we do expose these things.

On BoingBoing:

Here's the other thing: exposing like and follower counts on the fediverse is, quite frankly, mostly bullshit. It's so easy to fake, either by giving a number that isn't true or by generating fake responses trivially.

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@cwebber this is one of the things that I appreciate about VSCO (a proprietary photo app with social network attached). There are no metrics at all. It's so pleasant

@cwebber I think the #SNFH answer would be to allow people to add "flags" to their profile, so for example you could add a ThousandRealFollowers flag which is issued by the Fediverse Credit Reporting Bureau™, I can make my own credit bureau but nobody will trust it...

@cjd @cwebber I actually like this idea. being able to show “remote data that doesn’t exist anymore” like what if we could all hide our real follower counts here but replace them with our old myspace or friendster follower numbers (shown on wayback machine)

@liaizon @cwebber
What's cool about badges is we really don't know what they might be used for. For example, the EFF could make a "donor" badge.

@cwebber it's not like it's hard on Twitter either; there's an enormous market for fake followers. It'd be tempting to call it a black market, but that would suggest that Twitter disapproves, which is clearly not true.

@cwebber @emacsomancer engagement should always be active, passive engagement like counters are horrible for one's mental health.

@cwebber @emacsomancer i think if there is a like button, there should be a dislike button, like on reddit!

@Ste1lar I'm not sure a dislike button really balances things out. It would just seem to invite gamified engagement in the opposite direction.


@emacsomancer @Ste1lar Yeah I think it might make social behavior even worse, because it will increase defensiveness.

@cwebber @emacsomancer
Don't know what's put this topic into the atmosphere, but over lunch I'm reading this on the Baffler:


It is funny in a meta way that we need to see evidence that showing likes and follows is bad delivered from an authoritative source. It speaks to why people get addicted to likes and follows in the first place, it is a label of value placed on by an authority.

All you have to do is stop and listen to the way we all talk about likes and follow counts to know they are bad.

@Alonealastalovedalongthe @cwebber absolutely.

i remember reading a brief history of the facebook like button in 'the twittering machine' a week ago

it's all about making social media like a casino, where you keep betting and betting

like buttons allow the illusion of active and total praise for some micro-post, using the absolute minimum amount of emotional energy

i am certainly currently very addicted, and it is terrible and gutwrenching to me when i feel ignored.

i think we should remove the like button, and remove all number representations of follower/following counts

@dirtycommo @Alonealastalovedalongthe tbh I think the like button could maybe be ok, but publishing the like information to others isn't.

@cwebber @Alonealastalovedalongthe that's a good idea actually... it's interesting... maybe i need to do more research into exactly how one can give feedback/have some sort of response to some quick writing you do online that doesn't give the illusion of active feedback, when in reality it is passive


Yah I am addicted to them too, and it just makes me a worse person honestly.

@Alonealastalovedalongthe @cwebber we are now writing more than we ever had in our lives. we are just writing and writing and writing all day long, pouring all our thoughts into our computers


and we are giving the value of hours and hours of attention and creative output a day to massive corporations for almost nothing in return at all

@cwebber I think it'd be great to eliminate the idea of counts.

Not to be crude or pedestrian, but I always was impressed how deftly the show Community skewered the idea of social media rankings in their episode about the people-rating app "MeowMeowBeenz" (5x08, "App Development and Condiments, cf. @emacsomancer

@cwebber @emacsomancer @zigg "…platforms in the awkward position of detoxing users from an addiction they initially introduced to users." Yes. Bluh.

@cwebber @emacsomancer How come abolishing like farming got a name of the Greek goddess of agriculture? :blobpeek:

@cwebber @emacsomancer There is also a time dimension for the metrics. An artist once made a browser extension that "demetricated" Facebook. Besides hiding counts, it also made the timestamps more approximate.

@Christopher Lemmer Webber @Caleb James DeLisle One should really only be concerned with the interaction data on their own posts and the interaction data of their peers. A "like", for example, matters more from someone who's opinion on that topic that you trust than the "like" of a bot. Your own software should be summing and parsing and ranking these data. #WoTFTW

and yes, this can be extended to "authorities" who provide you with a number to plug into your custom ranking formula as well (e.g. Jen Eric's Local Business Review or GreenOrg's Certified Carbon Footprints)
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