Geek Side Blog

2016-10-24 How to Fix Twitter

posted Oct 24, 2016, 7:16 PM by Boyce Crownover

First the goal: Let people interact with Twitter so that what they see is mostly the kind of thing they want to see, minimizing the content they prefer to avoid.

Twitter has strong support from journalists. Still, most acknowledge there are a small percentage of disgusting people creating a large amount of offensive content.

Much discussion has been advanced about what can be done and the downsides of each of the proposed solutions. No solution is perfect and many possible solutions have problems significant enough that they could kill the good parts of Twitter.

I suggest that Twitter can be fixed by using the information they already have in place combined with a moderation system that has proven effective elsewhere, along with a tweak or two to take advantage of how Twitter is organized.

Moderation, meta-moderation and karma are the concepts that make Slashdot work. Moderation is given to people with fixed and active accounts. This prevents people from creating a multitude of accounts in order to game the system, but it could still be gamed if not for karma. Karma is a score based on how long and well received the moderation and activity is by an individual account. A better karma score gives more opportunities for moderation, and a lower score gives fewer moderation opportunities. Everyone is in a pool of random selection to meta-moderate where they're given opportunities to judge the fairness of the moderation done by other people.

The critical mass for Slashdot is having many reliable well established moderators to provide a weighted yardstick for measuring the value of other contributors. With Twitter they have verified accounts to begin the same process. Additionally, the moderation weight determining what you see can be weighted by the people you follow, and to a lesser degree, the people they follow and even to greater degrees of separation.

What I want is an option to turn Twitter moderation on and use slider bars to determine what types of posts I want to see. I want to slide the exposure bar from "unmoderated posts" to "posts moderated positive" to "most positively moderated." I want to slide the "degrees of separation" bar from "everyone" to "people with some connection" to "people followed by those I follow" to "people I follow" which determines how heavily the moderation of others affects the moderation I see.


posted May 17, 2016, 2:04 PM by Boyce Crownover

It's handy to be able to get detailed information about a workstation without having to interrupt the person using it. My favorite tool to use is WinAudit.

I put it on a remote computer then use psexec to launch a remote command line, then run it there to generate my report.

This command is what I prefer:
winaudit.exe /r=gsoPxuTUeERNtnzDaIbMpmidcSArCOHG /o=HTMLi /f=c:\temp\computer_audit.html /T=file_timestamp /l=c:\temp\winaudit.log

It's worth considering creating a directory for that to live in since it generates images as well. Maybe a batch file would work best.

2016-04-20 A Funner Site

posted Apr 20, 2016, 2:36 PM by Boyce Crownover   [ updated Apr 28, 2017, 10:38 AM ]

I read a lot.

Pretty much all day, every day, I'm reading with short breaks for a few TV shows (on Netflix, or Amazon Prime or the like) and sleep. Most of my reading is on websites. Probably half of what I read is technical or related to work in some way, but the other half is for entertainment alone.

Man with a book on his head.
I don't think he cares that he is doing it wrong.

I love to read codinghorror and cracked because they are fun. The words and phrasing they use make me choose to read them for recreation.

So when I started writing up my thoughts on encryption and the whole bundle of issues that sprang up in the Apple vs FBI and access to the iPhone case, I wanted to make my writing as fun to read as theirs. I know I haven't succeeded (yet) but in the process I started trying to make the page easier to follow.

I started adding breaks for pictures like I see other sites do. I started adding sidebar blocks like other sites do. I changed themes and layout and font size. Overall, I'm pretty happy with the results so far. I checked my favorite sites and, while I didn't try to copy them, I did try to learn from their styles.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Just remember that.

In the process, I started looking for interesting and compelling pictures I could break my writing with. I found a couple that I wanted to hang onto in this blog post:

I'm also establishing a few rules for what I think makes a website fun to read:

  1. There titles should draw me in (so I've been trying to make more interesting titles)
  2. Pictures of people are more interesting than anything else. (Something in the human brain connects with other people in ways that nothing else comes close to.)
  3. Lighten up a little. (My "crazy face" is now the logo for this site and the pictures have what I hope are amusing captions.)

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