+1 to Aaron’s summary. I chose people who write well and were helpful to others, though admins are free to appoint other mods as necessary. Moderation should be no big deal.
There are no ‘reports’ on forum activity; its initial purpose is to let humane tech activists find one another and collaborate. (It seems better at this than the FB page was.)
Founding community members (the many people writing eloquently about this in the past year; only a few of whom are staff of the center) are trying to figure out where leverage can best be applied (in tech, policy, and design) to reduce attention hacking – starting with public interviews and writing about the problem. The forum and wider community resulted from interest in those public campaigns, talks, and writing. No master plan, but experimentation.
A global multilingual movement to change social and attention norms is clearly part of the change we all want to see; I don’t think any of us knows yet how to get there from here. It’s reasonable to think that community discussion may lead the way as much as speaking from mountaintops.
As a short-term strategy, I at least would like to see local networks of expertise on these topics – analysis and defense, inspiring alternatives, and outreach – in many major cities. We can map existing local projects, bridge those networks and introduce new communities to them. The list of local meetups is a fine start. Perhaps we can find someone to focus on catalysing a few of those into regular events with their own momentum and regular speakers.
Many thanks for this response, metasj. Very glad to see it.
I noticed that you had asked for a map in another post, and I see you use the phrase “local networks of expertise” in this response. I have no expertise of the kind you are asking for and can only comment as an ordinary member of the public.
I just found this response to the false-missile alert issued in Hawaii on Jan. 13. Perhaps it is the kind of expertise you are looking for? Here are some paragraphs from the article:
We can talk all day about hindsight, but the human-centered design process in software development is there to provide foresight, and every one of the five points above is a red flag for practitioners experienced in its application.
First, exactly what is human-centered design? It is an approach to system development that prioritizes the experiences of the people who will be using the system. It takes into account how people perceive information in all senses; what people are capable of doing physically with their hands, fingers, eyes, and whatever else they are using to interact with a computer system; how people process information, what they can remember, and what taxes their information processing capabilities or confuses them; how human feelings and emotions affect performance and attention; how the context of people’s activity influences what they think and do; and so on.
A human-centered designer is therefore someone with knowledge about the behavioral, cognitive and and physiological sciences, who also knows about the design of interactive computing systems. They should be part of any development team, and play just as important a role as the best software engineer or programmer.
These are all the right questions. I’m personally on the east coast and am not involved full time, that question should be answered with a clear and cohesive strategy. The short term answer is that we get so many messages and inbound and the community is a place where we can not be blockers for others to work on “Humane” projects.
I think the team needs to define “Humane” tech for there to be any sort of effective rating systems or funneling/filtering towards projects and I don’t see anyone but Tristan being really qualified to do this (which in the past has proven to be a slow blocker).
Also this community is a place for people to feel like they’re not alone in how they’re feeling about tech and the world.
Sorry to not be able to give a more thorough answer but didn’t want to leave you hanging,
For non-tech person the terms, words, topics etc. being used here often are to technical apparently easily understood by tech people.but not by lay people which make this site intimidating for a regular guy. For technical topics that is understandable. I think if we want to attract more users from all communities worldwide and make this movement more inclusive we have to make this site more “user friendly” and more intuitive. I don’t know if you have some kind of figures or statistics on the people worldwide and by region who are affected by the negative effect of technology. Knowing the numbers means you can have an idea on how to proceed forward in an inclusive way.
Thanks, mark2u. I don’t understand the technical language either, but I understand–and hold dear–the principles espoused here.
I read today that Facebook moved the responsibility for its 1.5 billion international users from its headquarters in Ireland to its U.S. HQ, apparently in an attempt to subvert the new GDPR rules. FB’s move is dastardly; not only is it greedy but cowardly.
As @metasj has said, this forum is an experiment–I would add in faith and goodwill as well as in social progress. That is, faith in each other.
Thanks too @patm. the principles being espoused here hold dear to me too.
Facebook moved was made to lessen or shrink their legal liabilities when GDRP put into effect this coming May. In addition facebook is using design tricks to collect data under the new european laws. There are a valid reasons really why we cannot trust facebook.and tech in general. People need to rise to make a difference
Humanetec is a work in progress. Hope people could help and share their ideas.
I agree that for a techie it is easy to drop a word that is hard to understand for others, but the same is true when e.g. 2 neuro-scientists or psychologists discuss matters. Fact is, we have a broad range of expertise that come together in this forum, and that is a good thing.
To alleviate the problem we should be aware of this - describe it to the forum guidelines - and send other members a private message (a PM ) kindly requesting to edit a message, to make it more accessible to others who are no expert in the field.
When a topic is really specialistic, then adding a label of technical, science, research or e.g. behavioural-science would be a great way to make others aware that it could get complicated
Thanks to @aschrijver and @metasj. Whaf t I am trying to say that if we can have a discussion in a particular topic that do not need to be technical. Why not use plain language that is understandable to most people. We have to keep in mind that majority of people affected by negative aspect of technology are plain folks or non technical people. I understand that some topics need technical language that is given. With that in mind we can attract more people from all communities and make the site accessible and not intimidating to most people.
How far we go in this depends on the intended target audience of the CHT.
If this is the audience that addresses the problem and implements solutions, then expert language is hard to be avoided. If on the other hand the goal is in bringing together the largest possible crowd of concerned people in a general discussion platform, then it should be ‘least-intimidating’. And it could also be a mix of both.
@metasj, as an insider in future plans, what is your opinion on this?
This forum is helping us to clarify what we as a community NEED and what we as a community can OFFER. My suggestion to the admins is to allow some kind of new thing to emerge. Is anyone familiar with Substack? Perhaps the free version could be for everyone and the paid version for technical people. Revenue from this source could be used for campaigns, etc. Of course, the disadvantage would be that it would divert time and attention from the forum.
As @aschrijver says, technical language is necessary when it comes to evaluating the worth of technologies old and new. I got lost trying to follow the Android-vs.-Apple discussion between him and @andrewmurraydunn. I wonder if that conversation could be restated for the lay person…
Substack looks nice, and the Stripe payment system it uses also, but it all depends on the total toolset which needs to be consistent and not too intricate. I suggest adding this idea to Ideas for additional CHT tooling.
I have started a blogpost about the community and will share it with others after I’ve finished it. It represents my six weeks of experience with the community.
Aside from the lack of involvement by the founders, I am troubled by the apparent silence of most of the membership. They have in some sense dropped out, which I don’t think is healthy. Like other organic structures, the community demonstrates health and viability through activity and growth.
While the size of the membership may be an indication of health, the silence of most members is not.
Of course everyone realizes that the founders are engaged in important work, but the community appears to be orphaned by them. This is not good.
I’m hoping that the silence you speak of is a result of that lack of direction, and once there is more clear purpose for what we’re working to accomplish here in the community it will serve as more of and more deeply of a resource/way to contribute for more people.
I’m just getting back from meeting with the team in SF and this is absolutely one of the roadmap items being working on fixed. Everybody on the team shares your frustration
that there are so many people who want to help but a lack of a clear way to do so.
Thank you for your response! I am very glad to hear this is being addressed. Just yesterday I sent another mail to Tristan, Samuel and Randima along similar lines.
While the burden of work on the core team remains high, even the smallest interaction - a dribble of information on what they are working on - with the community would already be a great help. Maybe just a topic with press releases, as I proposed. Enough to show things are happening…
Many ways to follow-up are obvious - e.g. I could easily spin up an ideation space on Github and we work from there to update the TWS wiki, forum organization/improvement, etc. - but too much risk of this being a waste of time if CHT team has different plans.
You’re a champion. Sorry this has been so frustrating and slow.
I’m with you that there should be recurring scheduled brief updates from the core team on what’s being worked on. I’m not personally familiar with Github so want to leave that piece to others better suited to respond.
What do you mean by Press Releases? Like a channel of interviews/news about and with CHT? That makes sense to me as one means of keeping people up to date that there are things happening and there are lots of those we could collect from the recent past as well.
Another idea I really liked was to have a community role of keeping the core team up to date. This issue is so hot right now that there’s new news happening all the time, and I could see the community being extremely valuable in creating a daily summary of what happened in the industry. Example: updates to FB/TW/GOOGLE/APPLE/Netflix’s policies, ad platforms and algorithms that are announced publicly, regulations posed/passed etc.
The community working to summarize these daily as well as debate back and forth the significance I could see being hugely helpful so that Tristan + co don’t look silly criticizing policies that are out of date or have already changed.
I’m hesitant to start anything ad hoc though, because I think in general we’ve been so shitty that we should make an announcement to the community acknowledging that, and showing how things are going to be different (and stickin to it!) rather than just adding new things from where we stand
If I were in the community right now I wouldn’t trust us to just jump into something new until then.
Hey Max! Thank you. I got responses from Randy and Samuel too. I understand it is crazy busy, but that the CHT core team has been extended with more people to help out. That is great
Yes, this was what I meant with that indeed. I’ve been seeing a number of nice articles here and there myself, including in Dutch media. Also there was a meetup where Tristan spoke and people could join. Only we found out about it when it was too late to do so.
Yes, this could also be a great idea, but indeed requires more thinking for it to be effective, and also a continued effort from the community to keep it up to date. I’ll be talking to Samuel soon to discuss further.
Haha, well… current communication already helps a great deal. In a certain sense all the press attention and leaders asking advice is a position of luxury to be in, and means CHT has great potential to flourish and thrive