On the one hand, you have this nice project adding back the game engine into #Blender. It seems like a perfect thing for some ad-hoc gamedev without dealing with asset pipeline bullshit.
On the other hand, I just wasted 2 hours figuring out how to make camera move with mouse. Documentation only says "TODO". The "communities" are useless. Reddit is near-empty, StackExchange just closes the questions on this.
Since it's night again, and I'm getting ranty as usual: someone needs to write a paper entitled "Discord Considered Harmful".
It's one of the most annoying antipatterns I've seen in both software projects and communities like #hackerspace - centering community around a group chat (Discord, Slack, Telegram groups, and yes - IRC), in lieu of a proper forum *and maintaining documentation*.
Such software is not suitable for long-term knowledge maintenance, and excludes people who can't track discussions live.
You know how every time someone writes an interesting Tweet/Tootstorm and it goes around, people start asking "why not write an article instead?". Ignoring for a moment reasons why someone might opt for microblogging thread, the complainers do have a point that the format is annoying to read and does a bad job at knowledge accumulation.
So here's a thing: that FLOSS project's Slack or Discord is essentially a long-running multiplayer Tweetstorm. Same problems apply, but that much more.
To be fair, as a species we haven't yet figure out how to best combine ongoing discussion and building knowledge bases.
#Discourse is a good study here - it was designed with the goal of improving on the status quo. But the result is a finicky webapp with many questionable design decisions, including a recommendation engine that makes the site feel unpredictable. Ultimately, it's like taking a phpBB forum and pushing it half-way towards being a Slack instance.
And I'm starting to feel this is a general trend on-line: things become increasingly ephemeral.
Discord and Slack are useless if you're not continuously on top of the activity. StackExchange search feels random, and many communities follow StackOverflow's exchange of being trigger-happy with "close topic" button.
Even Github issue tracker - often used as a forum of last resort - became useless, ever since someone had the bright idea to invent a bot that auto-closes stale issues.
Also, from the POV of being a good discussion place, all aforementioned venues stick to linear threads, which is suboptimal.
So let's talk Reddit. It's almost OK, except... their search is completely broken. It's so bad that it *has* to be on purpose. Can't have people stopping the churn.
At this point, IMO the best place to have a discussion that can be referenced later is... Hacker News. And that's because it uses Algolia for the search engine, which doesn't suck as much as everyone else's.
What was that meme about state of the web, that in recent months spawned many articles, including in bona fide journalistic venues?
Ah yes. It's that Google has good search, but shitty results, and Reddit has quality content but ridiculously bad search - but if you combine them, by appending "site:reddit.com" to every Google query, you get something approximating a useful Web search engine.
It really feels like we're forever stuck in high orbit around good information software.
@temporal it's Google's fault for changing their SEO crap to bonus "content marketing" which turns out to reward sites that don't have useful content, just content that "engages" you for more than some amount of time.
And penalizes sites for telling you that you came to the wrong place.
@ketmorco Oh yes.
I've worked adjacent to people running a content marketing agency (handling blogs & social media pages for other companies), and what I observed is: most of it is willful pollution of the commons.
None of that content is meant to be useful, because the point is:
- For webpage articles: SEO to boost your company across wide range of query phrases in its area of business;
- For social media: maximize the visibility of your fanpage in other people's feeds.
@ketmorco Note that in both cases, the content, and frequency of posting, are optimized against the algorithms Google/Facebook/other sites use.
Even being "engaging" is a secondary concern - it matters in so far as Facebook will make your posts reach more people if some "engage" with them.
It's all about finding that sweet path in phase space that maximizes amount of exposure of your pages (which, beyond brand advertising, can be monetized by secondary means - deals, competitions, etc.).
@ketmorco As for how the content is made:
For social media, it's usually reposting someone else's content, and creating new images via "spam image factories" like #Canva, that make it easy to quickly generate something pretty looking (but worthless to consume).
For articles, this is usually copy-pasting other content media spam on the same topic, and rearranging some sentences so it doesn't look like straight plagiarism.
None of it is actually fact-checked in any way. Nobody has time for that. Or cares.
@ketmorco And if it feels I'm gearing up for a rant again, this is because the people I mentioned, the content marketing agency I worked next desk to, had customers in food / cosmetics / lifestyle business.
Which means I got to see how they mass produce and share utter and complete bullshit on nutrition and health.
Personally, I believe publishing this crap is actually directly harmful to the society, as it reinforces general misinformation and stupidity in society.
@jasper Not necessarily; expected standards of editing are different between a microblog thread and a blog article. Getting the former up to standards of the latter is lots of extra work.
(Not doing this work, of course, means the text is much less useful as a persistent knowledge artifact.)
@audunmb Would be an interesting workaround, and $deity I'd love to see a properly threaded chat - just to experience it; I have no idea if it would work out.
Note: properly threaded means tree structure (at least), not a list of lists (like AFAIR Slack threads work).
The reason it's infeasible to retrofit a ThreadReaderApp on top of a chat is that the chat has no structure to use. In contrast, Twitter and Mastodon do have proper tree structure - they just hide it in the UI for some reason.
@epoch That too, but here I'm focusing on how this kind of software is, by design, not suited for the task of generating and curating knowledge.
@temporal there's multiple issues here, but I'll try to tackle them one by one. Later in this thread you go to talk about the microblogging knowledge accumulation bit and honestly I'm not touching that - those are at least searchable enough, archivable, and public, and when not on a centralised platform I'll consider them sort of acceptable.
What annoys me about Discord is that it isolates knowledge. Projects consider the accumulated history as a knowledge base, but unlike a traditional forum, they're not publicly searchable nor archivable, and their future existence is entirely dependent on one company's goodwill and everyone's willingness to keep using that platform. The other reason why Discord annoys me is the part IRC (or Matrix) can solve, that being communities (especially FOSS ones) centered around a proprietary platform just rubs me the wrong way...
@temporal Shouldn't that be a more general "chat as support channel considered harmful"?
I'd expect a post specifically targeting discord to be about that ways discord itself is horrible (compared to, say, Matrix)
@loke Perhaps. However, since this was a late night stream-of-consciousness rant, not a carefully prepared post, I segued from Discuss to Discord to chat software in general.
But the things I compare about are structural to this family of software; even if those communities used Matrix instead, it would still suck.
@temporal Recommended reading: "The Garden and the Stream: A Technopastoral" by Mike Caulfield. https://hapgood.us/2015/10/17/the-garden-and-the-stream-a-technopastoral/amp/
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