Thought: Often people point to old skool mailing lists as a thing that hinders in , that they are toxic.

*But* the same people often use & promote . Isn't there much much more horrible abuse on Twitter? Is that a contraditiction? Is there something that makes twitter less exclusionary for marginalized people?

@ebel To the extent that they’re not just talking about the formation of cliques, I assume they’re talking about private vs public organising? In which case I wouldn’t see a contradiction so much as two different kinds of exclusion: the old boy’s club vs mass harassment.

@ghost_bird But, if people say "We shouldn't exclude people" then recommend twitter.... Are they just disengenuous w.r.t. exclusion? Or have they some sort of dissonance not letting them see it? 🤔

@ebel My guess is that either they found a Twitter community before the toxicity got bad, or privilege means they’ve never had significant harassment, or both.

@ghost_bird I often see women saying mailing lists are toxic, and there's plenty of harassment of women in twitter.

I wonder.... Does twitter have better technically solutions to blocking/etc which means harassment there doesn't have as bad an affect? 🤔

@ebel I think you have to look at a lower level of granularity than just Twitter as a whole. Lots of back-channel communities of women and marginalised people formed on Twitter as an alternative to the existing old boy networks, and they’re rarely visible enough to attract mass harassment. (GamerGate and more recent Twitter changes to increase “engagement” have eroded that, though.)

@ghost_bird I'm not denying that lots of marginalized people met and formed groups via twitter, and that's why many diversity advocates use it still.

It's just weird. How come a hell site like twitter worked for that? If twitter is good enough, why do these people complain about mailing lists? (I think the old boys club vibe is probably it)

@ebel I think another part of the answer is that Twitter wasn’t always the hellsite it is now. (I was active from 2010 to last year and I watched the culture(s) change). And that’s a function of both tech (design changes for increased “engagement”) and social factors (bad moderation policies; toxic communities learning how to weaponise the platform).

@ghost_bird @ebel I can confirm this, I think I was more active in 2006, 2007 and it was different then. Same goes for the federation in earlier years though.

@ng0 @ghost_bird Well yes, twitter was definitely different years ago. But GamerGate started almost 5 years ago? People are still promoting twitter. It can't just be people who were on twitter in '07.

@ebel I guess part of the problem with mailing lists is shared with knowledge intensive games like League of Legends: you can’t play without getting hassled unless you do an unreasonable amount of homework and internalize some social norms first (read the faq, etc).

There’s an article on my queue I’ve been meaning to read which I think hits on some of this:

Maybe on Twitter it’s easier to have separate spheres of people with shared values, even if they’re permeable?

@ebel Mailing list discourse is probably also, like other every-post-is-equal fora*, dominated by people with strong opinions and few reservations.

* I mean where posting can only ever have a social cost, every post is broadcast to everyone, and a naive approach to equal access is used, as in email lists or IRC rooms or web forums. StackOverflow is more wiki-like but still doesn’t escape this entirely.

@JoeOsborn I think you're on to something with the "unfriendly to beginners" and "all posts equal". Some software allows "voting", where makes not all equal.

Newbie friendlyness is social, not technical. But some of it is technical...

@JoeOsborn one problem with mailing lists is that if someone posts something, there's no way to know if everyone thought that was rubbish or what they agree on. It's easy to dismiss a complaint on a mailing list with "well that's just one person complaining"

@ebel There was a book a while back, “Designing Online Reputation Systems” or something like that, but I don’t know how much it presaged the misbegotten quantitative surveillance hell we live in now or if it offered alternatives.
SO does great and is searchable for questions that are answerable; mailing lists are better for developing arguments which are later recorded elsewhere (often GitHub issues and pull requests, strangely); chat seems much better for brainstorming and targeted explanation.

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