Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Censorship As A Growth Problem

 I have various interests, many of which lead me to think about appropriate growth.  Cities, communities, and the less and less interesting world of evangelism, where it's obvious those still ardent harbor the same attitudes to growth that helped the 2008 mortgage crisis limp into existence.  Growth is the never ending clarion call for many organizations, especially governments, because they can theoretically grow their way out of all the problems they are causing us.  

But too much growth, too fast, and you find yourself in bad situations.  An algae bloom is a sudden explosion of growth, but it quickly dies back.  It's not good for us, and it isn't good for the algae.

We can look at this social media censorship problem in two ways- one is that they basically lied to us and they were intending to do this kind of thing all along- in which case they should have been more honest.  By being more honest they would have grown more slowly, only adding people aligned to their politics and/or having some of us non-aligned people join under a clearer understanding of how the game was going to be played there.

There's some evidence this isn't the case, since, as they began designing algorithms, they realized conflict generates more interaction and keeps us on their websites for much longer than when we see the stuff we agree with.  They kind of need us there, to make the vegan socialist wine drinking cat ladies pound on their keyboards all through the night.

So, the second way to look at it is that as they grew too fast in their attempt to be a platform, a bunch of people not of their culture walked into their domain and took over the place-  The difference between some sort of sustainable immigration and invasion.  With some sort of workable immigration policy, people come in more slowly and learn the culture at a human pace, which usually means a much slower pace, with a lot of  people already inculcated into the culture to serve as role models.  This is not the sort of thing people do well with a few lectures, or direct knowledge transfer; you need a lot of time and a massive number of interactions to so that the new guy slowly forms the habits of the culture. 

Invasion means the original culture is vanquished.  The newcomers set new cultural norms.

But in either case, excessive growth is the problem (for the company) and these exercises in censorship is a symptom.  This symptom is a problem for everybody else, and may eventually be a problem for the company- since it will probably lead to legal troubles.  

This leads me to wonder about the health of the companies that seem so dominant now, and the current business model of sacrificing profit to achieve market share.  

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