This One Trick Will Revolutionize Your Use of Social Media: Block fuckwits.

On social media, the advantage is that a large userbase and participation. The disadvantage: it's 99.9999% crap.

What's working for me is to filter ruthlessly. If someone is disruptive, ideological, insane, or crazy-making, I'll block them without thought (I used to agonize over that, I don't any more).

High signal is rare, but odds of missing out by blocking idiots are low.

@dredmorbius I also unfollow brutally. shitposters do not get followed. popular meme phrases get filtered.

experts in a field get followed. if they shitpost too much, they get unfollowed.

@pnathan I'd discovered this when I was in a hate-on-Google mode at G+ and started just unfollowing massively.

When I stripped down to a core of genuinely interesting people I was interacting with ... the site got scary good. As I've just commented on Diaspora: G+ really _was_ small relative to other SocMed sites, but individual experience was wholly dependent on who you followed and how you interacted with those people.

@dredmorbius i as a semi-sometimes fuckwit dislike this remark. i think people should be able to have bad days, bad weeks, bad quarters.

to me, i want to see a long term track record of strikes against people. a socially generated system that looks longer term, that gives a better range of insight. i'm not here for casting people off, cutting them loose, just for being a jackass or stupid or fuckwits a couple of times. i hope we all feel like we at times have been fuckwits. i certainly know i have. i don't disagree with people's or communities choices to exile me after one or two offenses, but i certainly encourage society to be much more robust, to admit to fault, to face reality with much more assumption that a lot of fuckwit resides in each of us, and that we are all here to try to help each other work through it.

@jauntywunderkind420 I'm plenty of people's fuckwit. They've blocked me for it. I'm fine with that. Feeling's often mutual.

The point isn't the labeling. The point is mental and epistemic hygiene for those subject to annoyances.

If someone is clouding your head, harshing your buzz, chafing where they shouldn't, or just raising general annoyance levels, then with no regrets or apologies, block them.

That goes for me too.

I've actually got a bit of infrastructure, I have a "strike" list (on Masto), or equivalent elsewhere. My experience has simply been that those who hit the strike list very nearly always end up blocked.

The practice is about controlling your own epistemic space and practicing premptive self care. I'm fully aware that some of those blocked may occasionaally, or even often, have something on point to say.

But their delivery, for me at least, sucks.

It's also possible, with time and sincere effort, to get off the list.

But it's far better to avoid getting on in the first place, which is another major point.

Don't be a fuckwit.

@dredmorbius "People should use the block button as liberally as they use the follow one"

@dredmorbius While this is not exactly what you posted about, I'm finding that way too much stuff is simply not worth reading. It seems somehow that Mastodon is particularly bad in this respect, I wonder whether it's because it seems to encourage Twitter-like "discussions" (I'm being extremely generous with that word). One example that comes to mind is a toot where someone posted "coffee" - literally, that was the toot.

A lot of it arrives at my stream because other users simply hit like on those and tbh I don't know how to solve it. FOMO is probably part of the problem, but more and more it seems the resulting signal/noise ratio and aggravation is hardly worth it, and maybe I need to just get over it and start pruning my contacts list more aggressively.

@jec Yes, this is very much what I'm getting at.

There are some Mastodon tools you can use, more on that in a follow-up.

On the concept itself, earlier writings:

Cheap Rejection as a Feature

Builds the idea that cheap and fast no-gregats information rejection is a feature in an information-rich world:

[M]ental models are not simply modeling devices, but information rejection tools. Borrowing from Clay Shirkey’s “It’s not information overload, it’s filter failure”, the world is a surprisingly information-rich space, and humans (or any other information-processing system, biological or otherwise) simply aren’t equipped to deal with more than a minuscule fraction of it. We aim for a useful fraction. It paints an incomplete, but useful picture.

Even a bad model has utility if it rejects information cheaply.


Refutation of Metcalfe's Law revisited: network effects meet Sturgeon's Law

On bullshit, S/N, craft, respect, and originality

@jec I've covered my Mastodon tips before but:

Use lists. Have a "high-priority" or "high-signal" list that's just a small number (10--20) of profiles who post consistently interesting stuff, at low-to-moderate volume. Extend that with another 1--2 lists of moderate to lower interest profiles. Prune and reorganise aggressively.

Disable boosts if necessary. You can limit boosts for a profile. If their posts are interesting but boosts aren't, then dump the boosts.

Lists can also be limited. You can restrict what replies are shown: non, list members, or any followed user.

Unfollow / unlist noisy profiles: Often it's only a small set of profiles which generate a lot of traffic. Their good stuff will tend to get boosted by others, or turn up otherwise. Drama and outrage lose me really fast. Vagueness takes a few seconds longer.

FOMO is overrated. Someone came up with an alternate term that's something like "fear of losing attention" or "fear of lost focus", which is a good counter.

Time-box your usage. Allocating 20--30 minutes at the end of your day is far better than doomscrolling social media first thing in the morning. (Though this is hard to do.)

@dredmorbius > Use lists.
> (...)
> Disable boosts if necessary.
> (...)
> Lists can also be limited.
> (...)

I'm using Friendica, which its aim is more about supporting several protocols to server as kind of a central hub, so I'm not 100% it supports every AP feature - but I'll check.

> Unfollow / unlist noisy profiles: Often it's only a small set of profiles which generate a lot of traffic. Their good stuff will tend to get boosted by others, or turn up otherwise.

Yes! I realized that as well and it has helped a lot.

@jec Right, the featureset there is one that Mastodon and/or (my daily driver) offer.

@dredmorbius Sorry for the subpar redaction, I'm posting from my phone.

Maybe one criterion could be to remove anyone who regularly posts/likes/reshares uncompleted, non-functional, barely communicative phrases...

@jec Oh, I do that.

Mind that just plain annoying isn't itself necessarily hostile. Though karma whoring / reputation farming can be.

But yes, if someone's interactions / posts contribute nothing, then they're raising the noise floor, and get unfollowed at the very least.

The "block fuckwits" notion comes from the realisation that at least for undirected annoyances, on a follower-and-streams based platform (a/k/a "social media"), blocking identified sources of noise is virtually always a plus.

This gets so tremendously confounded, agonised over, and distorted by many accounts ("should I unfollow / unfriend X/Y/Z?") that ... I just can't even begin to comprehend.

The fact that I avoid mainstream SocMed and interact pseudonymously also does wonders for my quality of life and peace of mind.

@dredmorbius I find preemptively blocking arseholes that will probably never interact with me quite therapeutic.

@fishidwardrobe There's always that special joy of making a prediction and seeing how it bears out when given the chance as well.

But yeah.

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