I've realised a few things about tootstorming.
1. It's ... possibly frighteningly ... fun. Once you get on a roll, you're marshalling your thoughts in 500 character, roughly 80-word, nuggest.
2. That's about the same size as one of my 4x6 index cards, filled out fully.
3. Which means it's a bit like outlining an essay, though of course, Timelines and stuff mean that everything is strictly sequential.
4. People can respond to individual cards, either boosting, favouriting, or commenting.
5. Which means that the feedback is highly specific. For writers, this is difficult to find.
6. After I got my rhythm, I started to aim for cards which were individually quotable themselves. There's a fine balance here between building anticipation and momentum, thank you Shaharazad for giving us the cliff-hanger, and in creating a toot capable of standing on its own. I think I managed to pull off a few, though there are others that span the line.
7. There's the question of how to indicate sequence itself. I didn't number either the cards or the points within them in my Chrome Tabs rant, and whilst I as author can follow the thread that's spawned from it, including others comments and my responses to them (the original posts don't respond to anyone), and /I remember what I wrote and was thinking in the first place/, I can see the experience being far less clear to someone stumbling across it.
@deadsuperhero Correct as well.
This means that a link /within/ the Storm points as well to the parent. I utilise the same feature/trick on my Bio / FAQ pages.
That's not apparent though from the Stream view. Some sort of "this post has a parent, really" indicator might be useful.
@dredmorbius The best thing I've found for my style is to not number unless they really must have people read the whole thread. This forces ideas to be entire units, or have enough context to stand alone. Combines well with wanting to have people comment - because many times people will take the idea out of context and it helps me gain further insight thru serendipity.
Being said, I was burned by someone else not numbering & expecting me to realize it was a thread. I'm still mad about that.
@dredmorbius I think this is why tweetstorms have become such a big "thing" as well, especially since the birdsite improved its threading feature. 500 characters might be more suited for this than 140, though. Isn't this how humans think, anyway? In small bits and pieces instead of big blocks of text?
8. This is, then, a form that serves writers more than readers.
9. There's the question of how to build out the storm itself. I opted for a series of replies to a single top-level post. In a client which offers threading and thread-pruning, then, by filtering to a depth of one and the original author, the original essay would be clearly presented in tabs. Which is, come to think of it, all the more reason to see an open standard and diversity of clients such that capabilities as this exist.
10. I try not to respond directly to the comments which start piling up (and it's impressive to see how quickly they do), to the extent that they might derail a thought. It's generally better to go back and address those afterwards. Usually.
11. But @stephencoyle's remark about people thinking in chunks, is absolutely on point. It's a /feature/ of our brains. Some might call it a /weakness/, but applying a programmer mindset, behaviours are things to be adapted, if possible.
Chunking, from psychology:
12. So, yes, if it's easier to present a small, reasonably contained, reasonably consistent, tightly chunked idea in 70-80 words or so, it may be easier for others to follow. If you go through the history of language and communication, this is how sagas, chant, lyric stories, poems, and the like are constructed, in part. Though with rhyme and meter and melody, all of which are extraordinarily powerful mnemonic devices. Prose relies on plotting, foreshadowing, and structuring, mostly.
I think the major difference between here and something like birdsite is that the 140 character limit makes tweets more akin to aphorism and idiom generation. Or perhaps more like koans, or stanza's in a bit of poetry.
The structure makes it awkward to splay sentences across multiple tweets thus favoring brevity and compressed language. Terse, like speaking only in 'TL:DR;'s
TL;DR: "Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words."
— Robert Frost
13. What I see out of the earlier storm is, well, how to improve it. The obvious: typos and misspellings. Missing references. Stuff I should have said but missed. In this particular essay, the most salient element of the complaint: that the more the tool in question isn used, the worse it gets. I've already got more ideas for another essay on that topic.
14. As I opened: this is fun. It is for the author an excellent content-capture tool, something far too many Web tools make hard.
15. The ability to type, to have as my prompt only the initial post (I'm keeping tabs with the developing thread in another tab, and refer to that for context), and with these nice, roomy textboxes that Mastodon gives me, is wonderful. There are a few other sites that offer a similar "no other distractions" composing environment: Ello, Google+, for the most part. Not natively, but using the Reddit Enhancement Suite, Reddit. (The native Desktop and Web UIs are absolutely abysmal though.)
16. As a writer, what I need most essentially are a) space for words, b) no distractions, c) an absence of fear -- of interruptions, of losing my work, of losing my concentration, and d) the ability to call up references and include them -- what I write ties in to what others have written, quite often.
17. It is beyond sad and disappointing to find how many tools fail to provide any of these facilities at all, let alone all four. On Android, the last two are fundamental platform failings.
18. Shit simply disappears. If I happen to glance away from a browser tab for a moment, all that's in it may vanish. Various aspects of the Chrome tab problem relate to this, and the underlying failure:
19. Contempt for user state.
20. That is: the developers, at all levels, from the OS, apps, browser, Web systems, simply do not care or address the concern of the user in preserving the ephemeral yet critical structures they've drawn about the information being utilised.
21. And the whole stack is so craptacular that those at the top of it (web applications designers) have to go through heroic efforts to provide even rudimentary security. Ello, to their credit, have done this, for posts, and posts alone. Not comments. Not post edits. But if you start writing a post on Ello, and find you have to discontinue it, or that your browser tab has reloaded, or Android has pooped itself, it's going to stay there, for a long time. I tested this unintentionally.
22. I'd started two longish posts (that is: which required thinking, and time and space to think), which ... I probably shouldn't have published anyway. On two different systems. (Ello's post feature only preserves one per local client.) They did eventually disappear, but it took several weeks, perhaps a month. In the scheme of state persistence online, I'm prepared to call that good enough for now. The ability to save drafts, in multiples? Sure, that'd be nice. But you take what you can.
23. The inability to reference things, or to use the reference archives I've built (Pocket, hello, and yeah, I'd still like to hear from you sometime on my "It gets worse the more I use it" comments, any time, y'all) without fear of everything in a particular web dialog blowing up is particularly critical to my working style. The card-at-a-time format actually works nicely for that, as I can think of something, pull up the URL, and utilise that in a single card. I'm mitigating risk to 500 chars.
24. Once I'd found Termux, /and/ the Termux API and termux-api packages, I could finally copy and paste between the Android app space and a fairly functional shell, including vim, tmux, w3m, and some related tools (if you don't know, don't ask, if you do, you're my people). And am productive. The principle limitation here is that I can see /either/ the terminal /or/ Androidland, but not both. Grabbing content from the Web is possible via w3m, wget, or curl. PDFs are a lot harder.
@dredmorbius oh, ok, calling it to split screen would be great but for that no solution comes to mind. Dumping the pdf content to text would be a way but that's already an overkill. I'm guessing you are on android 6, no? Otherwise on 7 you open the pdf, push the app switcher to bring up split screen and choose termux. Then there's the keyboard.. Yeah it's a tough nut to crack.
@alexandros There are PDF-to-text utilities (part of ghostview, generally), but they rely on the text being in the PDF in the first place. Next track is to OCR the graphical content and generate text. Again, this exists.
But those aren't tools which are (yet) available on Android. I have a set of these on OSX and Linux. Some work better than others.
What I'd really like to see is some way of combining efforts on this sort of task, as has already been done with Wikipedia.
@alexandros I've done a considerable amount of work in some cases to take texts which are in PDF, or ASII, or other formats, and clean them up. If I can get to a Markdown or LaTeX source, I've got the bones from which to kick out other formats, including conformances to, say, PDFs. Though there, what you want to do is align the textified version to the imaged pages, such that the text layer corresponds by both page and screen position to the scanned-in image.
@alexandros There's also the metadata problem I've mentioned earlier to @stefanieschulte -- a filesystem layer which is, probably again, more like a library than a data-and-blocks system, MARC format, or an equivalent.
The Internet Archive, Wikisource, Project Gutenberg, the Hathi Trust, and Google Books are all extant projects addressing parts of this space, and I might to well to see how my own efforts might fit with those. My /direct/ interest is not to be a librarian.
@dredmorbius About tweetstorms, politics and gender: http://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2017/04/05/521835755/what-should-we-make-of-the-tweetstorm-or-thread-or-whatever-you-call-it
Someone coined the term "mantreading" when several male tweeps discussed US politics via tweetstorm, but this might miss the point. Tweetstorms have always been popular among female users as well (and they might have invented the technique): https://twitter.com/sarahkendzior/status/808695280057143297
@stefanieschulte Interesting article. Though I've got a whole bushel of problems with terms like "mansplaining" and "manthreading" being tossed around casually. Even /where/ accurate, they are terms which have a great deal of opportunity to make a situation worse, and little to improve, defuse, or prevent it.
That's not a denial of privilege or behaviour, but its /also/ a reflection on dynamics of such discussions. There's an essay on the topic I may need to write.
The thread/form bits...
@dredmorbius I think "mansplaining" is more about the receiver than about the sender: Most people seem to be much more patient when men act that way than when women try the same. In real life, I have a tendency to ramble, too, but people usually interrupt me quickly.
I don't think this is the same in social media: Women's tweetstorms don't seem to be received less favourably than men's, at least in my experience.
@stefanieschulte Specific instance comes to mind: someone had posted about a gym/workout issue, being worse at a particular lift than they wanted to be. I responded with some pretty commonplace, though effective, advice. I'd had no idea if the poster was a man or a woman, and didn't much care, I'd followed them for a year or more. The response was that I was "mansplaining'.
I pointed out the several issues with the claim, and tried to return the matter to workouts. It didn't stay there.
@stefanieschulte At which point I elected to delete my contributions to the thread and block the user.
If the first assumption coming out of the gate is that some pseudonymous profile writing in good faith is mansplaining...then productive discussion seems unlikely to happen. I don't have the cycles for that fight.
I've been trying really hard not to cheer loudly in agreement with @maiyannah's recent thread about the privilege knapsack. But her views are refreshing.
@dredmorbius @maiyannah Counterpoint: In real life, I often have to listen patiently to men rambling on and on about topics I'm more knowledgeable about than they are, but they don't let me get a word in edgewise, no matter how hard I try. This behavior is socially acceptable.
If I tried to act the same way, that wouldn't go down well. It's not socially acceptable.
This is why this remains a sensitive issue to me, although I do experience it less on social media.
I think ultimately this is more fundamentally a /power/ thing than a /man/ thing, though yes, men quite frequently have power.
It does happen to me, at least at times, and it can be phenomenally annoying.
Discussion of the Charlie Hebdo shootings a couple of years back raised the point of punching up vs. down. That's a very strong point.
There are some good social media examples of "mansplaining", but they seem hilarious precisely because the woman isn't powerless anymore, see e.g.: http://nytlive.nytimes.com/womenintheworld/2016/08/16/astrophysicist-katie-mack-lays-the-smackdown-on-mansplainer-with-droll-twitter-burn/
I think in terms of brains with patterns so firmly established that they resist all effort at change. In a world-models view, a badly broken, and yet unrepairable, non-disposable, model.
There are all kinds of times I've talked to experts in fields w/o realising it initially.
Mind that those power relations can vary tremendously with time.
I try to be conscious of my own relationships, though I know I'm far from perefect. I'm far more conscious of it when I perceive (correctly or otherwise) I'm the less powerful.
Power is also also aware of its own fragility.
@maiyannah @stefanieschulte That presumes a requirement for cause. In places there's no such thing, and a regular practice of more-or-less arbitrarily removing staff is itself a control tactic. See discussions of stack ranking.
Agree on assertive vs. aggressive. Assertion is born of confidence (or equanimity). Aggressiveness of fear, or a lack of a sense of control.
Sometimes you can address the causes.
Alain de Botton's School of Life videos touch on this.
@maiyannah @dredmorbius Again, it is partly down to power relations, I think. During my eight years as a reporter at a fairly reputable financial newspaper, this was rarely an issue for me. I always had the power to "ask questions".
Now, as a PR officer, I find myself in situations where I have to endure "mansplaining" much more often. It is quite eye-opening (and for that reason, I sometimes miss my time in journalism).
@maiyannah @stefanieschulte @dredmorbius Loving this thread - oh how it resonates.
I was the first girl deck cadet in the 1970s, in Shell Tankers, then the only female continership planner in the UK. I've had a lifetime of mansplaining...
sometimes I took it - as the sefaring officer was senior to me, now, sometimes I call it out, mostly I ignore it....
@dredmorbius @maiyannah As a journalist, I never had to act "aggressively" (at least in my own perception). It was usually sufficient to politely state my point, and to ask good questions. I rather had to be careful not to scare people by being too assertive (because people tend to be nervous around journalists).
Today, I'm sometimes being outright ignored when I try to act the same way.
There's studied non-violence: Martin Luther King, Jr., Gandhi. The Dali Lama.
There's assertive opposition: labour unionism is probably among the prominant examples.
There's telling truth to power: good journalism, satire, parody, folk music. Orwell, Sinclair, Huxley, Roger Moore.
There's some choice here.
@maiyannah @stefanieschulte Another element of the interruption / blathering thing I'm trying to sort out: what is it about some conversations that flow (the ones I've had with each/both of you over the past few days in particular), and those which are a constant struggle of trying to understand, trying to be understood, having the obvious obsessed over at length, the obscure flitted over, utterly random and inexplicable responses, etc., etc. That's /so/ wearing.
@stefanieschulte @maiyannah I'm suspecting psychological mechanisms at work. Our brains try to make sense of the world. Part of that world is other brains. Two brains running different rulesets (or with different, possibly defective mechanisms or training data) trying to make sense of each other results in a constant case of model/feedback mismatch.
Getting a prod in a new direction can be useful. Being assaulted with noise, at all times, is confusing.
@stefanieschulte @maiyannah The notable cases for me come from those with little education, occasionally with /very/ different life experience. From idealogues of all stripes. And in more than a few cases, those with some organic dysfunction, either congenital or acquired. I'm close to a case of the latter now, and comparing notes with others, my impressions seem reasonably well founded. Anti-gaslighting myself is part of the challenge.
In real life, I have a tendency to ramble as well. However, I'm usually getting interrupted quickly when I try to do that.
At the same time, it's usually considered "normal" to politely listen to men when they are acting the same way.
Mutual trust and respect help. A lot. Which is to say, exchanges amongst peers.
/Some/ dimension of deep commonality. I've never met @maiyannah or @stefanieschulte before this week, and @woozle is someone else I know only from online, though over 4-5 years now. I've had great conversations with each.
There are also childhood friends with whom there's a strong bond.
@sim Because we've got so much common experience, at least in cases, there's that depth. Not always, but sometimes.
Perceptual challenges can get in the way. One good friend has been losing sight and vision. He's pretty good with his hearing aids, but registers few visual gestures, especially facial expressions -- smile, frown, nod, etc. Those implicit or gestured elements of conversations have to be verbalised.
@sim Being able to gesture, raise a finger, or quickly interject something, /and be acknowledged for it/, helps.
I've mentioned the cognitive faculty part -- productive conversation with someone losing their marbles is hard. And re-calibrating to the present state of embarbledness constantly is difficult and tiring.
@sim @stefanieschulte I know someone, a woman, as it happens, and an exceedingly competent sysadmin, who came from a family like that, and whose response was, if she had something to say, she opened her mouth and started saying it, whether someone else was talking or not. This drove me nuts -- I really hate fighting for airtime.
I had a male coworker who would finish my sentences, incorrectly, always. Also maddening.
That at the same gig where I met my long-lost brother.
So, here's a good example of that: @Harena's brother Pete has been employed for many years as a full-time professional tax preparer. Her mom, however, likes to be the most knowledgeable person in the room on any topic. Whenever we ask Pete a tax question, HMom tends to interrupt his response as if she is the definitive expert.
(We call this "momsplaining".) (Point being: it's #notAlwaysMen)
@woozle @sim @dredmorbius @Harena That has occurred to me as well. I believe "womansplaining" is most common in traditionally "female" domains, however. Think the stereotypical mother-in-law and her unwanted advice about household, child-rearing etc. I think this is also because they are traditionally getting away with it (mother = position of power towards her adult kids).
@stefanieschulte @sim @dredmorbius @Harena FWIW, HMom has always been deferential to *me*, both before and after I came out as female; she only momsplains her *offspring*... and has no opinions at all about household matters (at least not recently; she never comes to our house anymore, so it doesn't come up).
I have had that kind of experience (a mominlaw who was also self-appointed interior decorator) in the past... but that's another story. >.>
@sim @Harena @woozle @dredmorbius Well, you can't "ban" mom (or dad) from your living room, no matter how badly they are misbehaving (except in very extreme cases). Intuitively, they know that, and some of them might adjust their behavior, even if their intentions aren't that bad.
My point: Most people feel the urge to behave in annoying ways sometimes, but how society reacts depends very much on power relations and context.
Mind you, I put up with it for about a decade first (I guess that qualifies as "extreme"?)... and it took ~6 months of whining from both of them before he really accepted it, I think.
But now they both know I will defend my boundaries. <looks steely-eyed>
I'm most susceptible myself in instances where I feel threatened. Or where the assaults simply go on far too continuously. Again, watching someone in decline, coming to understand a whole history of interactions, realising that these are now being amplified and solidified yet further. It's sad, tiring, frustrating, and fascinating all at the same time.
@dredmorbius @maiyannah If your encounter was indeed with one of those truly toxic people, all bets are off anyway. They might play the "sexism" or "racism" card whenever they see fit, and even act in a racist of sexist way themselves elsewhere. In such a case, only a ban, moderation or some other community effort can help.
My feeling is that sometimes you have to decide for yourself what is socially acceptable -- what *you* consider acceptable -- and distance yourself from people who violate those decisions (aka "boundaries").
I realize it's not always practical to do that, however.
In any case, I certainly don't consider such behavior socially acceptable, and do distance myself accordingly.
From the outside, actual helpful advise can look a lot like mansplaining.
So if you constantly get things mansplained, and in comes a man explaining things, regardless of how sane and innocent that was, _of course_ he's a nasty mansplainer too!
@JollyOrc @dredmorbius Yes, and it's sometimes the nicer people getting the heat, because facing the real bullies is (often objectively) risky. I think people who point out that they aren't the worst offenders, or that they didn't intend any harm, sometimes miss this point.
Of course, there are probably toxic people who intentionally accuse others of sexism or racism simply in order to stir up trouble (but they are a minority, I think).
@stefanieschulte @dredmorbius There are two points in there I like to expand on, plus a third that occurs to me: 1. If you offended, apologize. You may then decide that you don't need more interaction with a person that is, from your POV too easily offended, but that doesn't change the fact that you politely apologize and back off.
2. There are indeed few real trolls. Still enough to stir up trouble.
3. often overlooked fact: Men can mansplain to other men too!
Let's see if I can't codify that: Insensitive, presumptive, and condescending conversation drives out sensitive, considerate, and supportive conversation.
The only fix I can come up with is to make bad interpersonal behaviour non-rewarding. (where the trick is to figure out what the "reward" here is. Attention, even negative, can be a reward. As can "getting away with it" be. So if you think that someone feels rewarded by column a, but it's actually column b, you're in deep trouble)
If the behaviour comes from a position of power, and that power can be removed, that's an option.
If it comes from a position of /lack/ of power, or more specifically, /responsibility/, then giving a small measure of responsibility may help address this. See what it is to actually have to /work with others/ in order to /achieve/ something.
@JollyOrc @dredmorbius @stefanieschulte tl;dr not all men's explaining things comes from assumption others are stupid; and we really don't have a crystal bowl that would tell us "this person knows this already".
Also, I am very tempted to change my avatar and nick here to something looking vaguelly non-male non-white and do some serious mansplaining, and observe the difference in reactions.
/me ducks expecting a tootstorm
@rysiek @JollyOrc @dredmorbius
> Also, I am very tempted to change my avatar and nick here to something looking vaguelly non-male non-white and do some serious mansplaining, and observe the difference in reactions.
Some people tried something similar, and their experience was... interesting:
@stefanieschulte @JollyOrc @dredmorbius ah yes, I've seen this. My point is to do it the otehr way around. I am not saying sexism is not a problem - it is. But my feel is that last couple of times when I was called a mansplainer, had I had a non-male non-white avatar, the reaction would have been different. I would like to test this.
@stefanieschulte There are assholes, bigots, sexists, rascists, and all other types in the world. But, as @maiyannah said, answering bias with /another bias/ -- and no, I'm /not/ talking about efforts to level the field, equalise opportunity, and atone for past (or present) wrongs -- strikes me as wrong. If there's going to be an identity-awareness, it should tend to inclusion rather than exclusion and othering.
Discussing mansplaining as phenomenon seems useful.
@stefanieschulte Using the term directly in addressing a possible source of it, or using it as an opening gambit, not so much.
If I /suspect/ someone of being an asswipe, I'll generally give them the benefit of the doubt.
The sealion.club commenter on this thread got that benefit. My first response (deleted) was to suggest the approach they used wasn't particularly productive. A quick visit to their home profile suggested an exceedingly low percentage on that angle. Block, mute, report.
25. And, for reasons that boggle my mind completely, Android has a stunning lack of large-buffer editing apps of /any/ stripe which will screen-share with a browser. There's a Memo app with a buffer of a few hundred, maybe a thousand or so words. But I'm constantly overrunning that. If I need to re-type a passage out of a PDF, that's pretty much what I'm stuck with. It's a poor generative environment.
@mdhughes There's a vim clone, VimTouch. It doesn't interact with the clipboard, or support split-screen.
It's actually far more useful to use vim in console. I've got "xc" and "xp" aliases (originally from "x11 copy" and "x11 paste", on Linux, using xclipboard) which I can fire text in and out of files or pipes.
@mdhughes I've got a Bluetooth keyboard on Android, which is the only way to fly.
Sadly, the concept hasn't yet been fully standardised, so despite the fact of a wireless interface, it's actually the /physical dimensions and characteristics/ of devices which are limiting.
I understand that Tablet sales haven't generally lived up to expectations, which is also somewhat sad. It's such an otherwise useful size.
26. Getting back to point 8: though this form serves writers, it does so in a way that /can/ be used to better serve readers, /if/ the storm is refactored into an essay form. Which the form makes fairly easy to do. So I see a pardon for the 8th Sin on those grounds.
27. In the immortal words of Douglas Hofstadter: Sentence fragments. Useful device. Will be used. More later.
28. That is: it's a rough, interactive, participatory, first-draft model, and that can serve a purpose.
29. Occupational hazard: failing to properly parent a card such that it loses context with the storm. Bad parenting will result in severe punishment: the wayward child is deleted and a new one created. Harsh. But effective.
30. You'll probably see more of this. I'll try to sort out the sequencing problem somehow. Tools to support this in #mastodon would be nice, #mastodev. And I'll try to keep it from being too annoying, with comments on that highly appreciated.
31. Because the best part of this /is/ the specific feedback and commentary. Even the comments I read initially as wrong or missing the point frequently highlight an unclear expression of an idea, which is probably the deepest writing flaw there is.
Very nice thread, @dredmorbius! I, too, have been thinking about how to make tootspace a tool for writing. I've spotted one problem that really turns me down:
When I click on someone else's boost, it won't show the thread belonging to the OP! Tusky (the app) won't even let me click through!
Btw, whoever boosted better did that with the last piece of a series, but nevermind...
I can help myself, e.g. use a comment instead of boosting, but d'uh! Boosts break my writings!
Addenda: A couple additional thoughts on Tootstorming:
1. A series of related (and linked) posts increases exposure on the Timeline. Since content flies past so fast, a string of 10, or 20, or 30 ... or 60 posts is more likely to catch attention. I didn't use the method /because/ of this, but I'm realising it now. (This also applies to Birdland.)
2. Once you start, you're committed. This isn't a draft I'm writing that I might never finish. Or at least, not without being public.
3. I'm getting a flavour of what writing for serial publication must be like. But ... faster. I start with an idea in mind, but may hop onto something else. I honestly had no idea today's earlier piece would run to 64 posts. It's necessary to check back and see how things are developing. Occasionally I realise I'm writing myself into a corner, and need to find a way out.
4. Since the posts are timestamped, I see how long I've been at it. MVU was six hours, with few breaks.
5. It's nice to see the responses turn up in realtime, though as mentioned, better for continuity to /not/ address them.
6. Likewise, interruptions locally whilst writing are a twist. I can't get too engaged or I lose my place, though a brief side conversation can be a good break.
22. Keeping my numbering scheme straight, and posts correctly parented, is a bear.
@babelcarp A few reasons. No good text editor w/in Android proper, and unable to compose and switch between console and browser for referencing, easily, w/ copy/paste. The live composing is an interesting headspace.
I do plenty of long composition otherwise, but don't have access to a good system for that reliably now. Actually, for quite some months. It's a real pain.