What heretical software features can you imagine that would never fly at a growth oriented company but could totally work on free open source social media?
For example, algorithmic timelines are one way to deal with information overload. But what if instead your software offered suggestions for people to unfollow (this person posts a lot and you hardly ever interact with them)? Not necessarily a good idea but it's an idea we could implement that would NEVER happen on Twitter, Facebook, etc
@darius In general, algorithms that are targeted to the user's actual need rather than conversions (however defined by the vendor). The commercial version of an algorithm is, almost by definition, "here is the thing that will make us money that we think we can trick you into being interested in."
@darius a meter that shows how much energy the user's behavior on the site is using, along with a calculation of the co2 emissions from that energy
@aparrish the thing about this one is it's a really thorny and deep computer engineering and physics problem, so you'd think there would be some nerds excited to dig in!
@darius Multiple tiers of following; Tier 1 gets shown in your timeline, and Tier 2 piles up in an overflow timeline you can read when you’ve caught up with Tier 1. That could also work for things like RSS, Reddit and such.
@acb I want to implement this in my fork. I see it as a special category of list (in mastodon) where accounts in that list are not shown in the main timeline, only on the list itself
@darius Remove all images and videos as a default. Or less heretically: not allowing posting of images without captions, not allowing posting of videos without subtitles.
Removing the ability to link elsewhere, or less heretically removing UTM parameters automatically when linking things.
Removing notifications other than specific mentions.
@darius a timer that kicks you off after an hour or at certain times of the day
@darius i’ve often wished for “how much of your timeline comes from each user, including RTs” so I can consider who’s worth unfollowing.
@darius an instance recommender based on your first month of activity
@darius nlp tools: "you might be about to post a creepy/hateful/gross toot, should we run it by your mom first?"
@darius A "volume knob". It would allow me to limit the number of posts I see from people I like who post a bit too much. Say max N posts per day or something like that.
@KnowPresent @darius yaaaas!! Certain people take over my timelines. I've been unfollowing them or ignoring the whole platform. Ideally quiet people would not get lost in the noise of people who flood, while I can still follow everyone.
But I want control to SEE when people are "squelched" so I can choose to dive into rants / floods. Not an opaque algorithm that is secretly making those decisions for me.
@darius A Tip-Fave button on posts that hooks into your PayPal/bank account and directly gives the poster an amount of your choosing like 25 cents whenever you press it
@darius "Break points": A feature where you get some numerical praise indicator for staying *off* the site for multiple consecutive hours
@darius hilariously, that’s tumblr mid xkit used to offer something like this. Dashboard with stats on who you talk to most and least, presented in a pie chart that you could easily post on tumblr itself.
@darius Oh hey, I very briefly talked about a related thing in https://www.harihareswara.net/sumana/2019/04/19/0 ... I think Dreamwidth's very granular comment access levels, Firefox Send-type "you can download this once" maybe, stuff other people have said re: helping the user with self-control and enforcing #a11y standards (and #i18n #l10n for that matter)
Enforcing "you MUST have multi-factor auth on"
Allowing the operator to charge users money for an account/usage
@darius I think this would be an algorithmic timeline where there end-user gets control on who gets to be shown more prominently.
I've noticed here people are complaining about algorithmic timeline on twitter, but then keep self-boosting posts to make them more visible, so I think, both current solutions to the problem are not ideal.
More specifically to mastodon, a fine-grained control over whose boosts get to be more prominent would be an appreciated feature.
@darius There's nothing inerently wrong with algorithmic timelines... as long as we have total control on how it works! For example, we could control to group posts from 1 person who posts a lot. Or just show me the top rated post from that person.
Basically, filters that allow to bring to the front those who post rarely.
@darius Or even better:
"We notice a lot of people you're friends with have suddenly unfriended <X>. They're probably a jerk. You should unfriend them!"
@darius This might be too invasive but I’d love to be able to turn on a column of JUST “people you follow fav’d these posts” from time to time, because I’m still having a hard time finding new follows on here.
@darius maybe this is too boring and not heretical enough. But 🤷♂️ the “your friend likes X” feature got a ton of hate when it showed up, and I found it really useful. Not for engaging in the thread they liked but for finding new people who posted good content, but were too many degrees of separation away for me to find naturally,
@ja2ke @darius Some of the problems with it in algorithmic social media was that it was also a way to "whitewash" ads/brands and blurred the lines between normal timeline activity and sponsored activity.
I could see if it was a dedicated activity (own timeline) it would have fewer such concerns.
Though it adds more questions to what the meaning of fave is versus boost. I see fave much more a signal to the toot writer than the community, personally.
@ja2ke @darius it was bad because it just dumped the posts in your timeline and if someone wanted the post in the timeline they would've retweeted it, likes are more of an acknowledgement between you and the poster than something to share. That said, a separate list of what the people you follow have liked sounds like a neat idea, as long as people can choose to make their likes available in this way
@darius I'd like the ability to opt out of ALL metrics-related information. No boost or like numbers show up (on any client,) the number of posts and followers I have are hidden to everyone including me, I'm not notified when people like or boost my posts, I can't see how many posts or followers anyone else has, etc
A patchwork of features across a few clients does some of this but it's not comprehensive enough
@darius (a few mastodon clients, I mean. As long as I'm dreaming, I'd like a social network where no popularity metrics are tracked at all)
@darius rotating skull gifs
@darius Oh, no. That's not a good idea. It's a GREAT idea.
I've long maintained that good social media practice involves period revision of one's semantic relations to others. Suggestions for unfollowing would fall squarely in line with that. And commercial social media would NEVER deploy that.
@darius anything that gently (ie carefully avoid the nagging patterns of commercial software) helps people take breaks and more generally evaluate whether the software fits into the user's life in a way that's desired rather than engineered by a company.
@darius local-only posts ;)
@darius i could also imagine sites that were only active during certain windows of time (either certain days or certain times of the day) to try to guide folks away from always being online.
@darius full color palette user customization. good for people theming things to their liking and comfort, bad for brand identity (i. e. facebook blue).
@juliebean Yes! Pleroma has a really great version of this
@darius the federated allow / disallow list.
So I can both subscribe to instance I feel close to and publish my own findings on instance I wish to flag to my network.
@darius a star/like feature, but it is a 'I hear you'.
There is no count, there is no visibility on it from the outside, only I can see who 'heard me'.
Typically, it is half there with the addition of bookmarks in glitch-soc (because it displace staring to bookmark).
@darius i mean just the CWs reduce engagement so they would never go on a commercial platform
@darius Here are some straightforward things I constantly want from twitter-style-networks.
• A trust model that isn't just "did I allow someone to follow me" (masto fix this please)
• Fine-grained visibility (e.g., followers, mutuals-only, close friends, friends-of-friends)
• Options to reduce engagement (disallow RTs, QTs, or comments)
• Prevent engagement from specific groups (only mutuals can comment, big accounts can't RT)
• Options to change the above on existing posts
Actual support for private accounts/posts. Replies to private accounts that don't trust you shouldn't be in threads.
If, I follow A, B, and they are talking with a private account, A's replies to B shouldn't appear on my feed (masto does this too and I hate it).
I shouldn't even be able to see A's replies because a private post should only be visible by someone trusted by all three.
@darius Notifications designed to be less intrusive and get me to visit less.
Let me have different notifications options for mutuals, friends-of-friends, followers, and completely random people (or based on custom lists).
Let me set specific notifications options for specific posts. If a tweet goes viral, you're options are: no notifications for that tweet, severely limit your notifications, get overwhelmed (masto is worse for this because it doesn't even batch faves/boosts)
Hometown is adapted from Mastodon, a decentralized social network with no ads, no corporate surveillance, and ethical design.