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I’m curious

What is Twitter's stance toward abuse?

What is Twitter's stance toward abuse? That is, when does Twitter take action to remove or freeze accounts and why?
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  • Twitter is a recipient-driven communication utility; you choose what appears in your timeline. To this end, we offer tools designed to give you more control over your experience using Twitter. For example, with the block tool, you have the option of preventing your content from being delivered to other people's timelines.

    There are areas where we can improve our tools. For example, the track feature does not currently obey the block list, but it should. And we're actively working to prevent abuse by spammers of the "new follower" email notices.

    Our goal is to provide tools that allow people to enjoy the Twitter service in the way that makes sense to them. To achieve this goal, we need to curtail abuses that impair our ability to provide this service.

    Content and Abuse

    As a communication utility, Twitter does not get involved in disputes between users over issues of content except in very specific situations. Twitter is a provider of information, not a mediator. Specific physical threats, certain legal obligations, privacy breaches of specific types of information (e.g. SSN, credit cards), and misleading impersonation are some cases where we may become involved and potentially terminate an account.

    Overall, we hold ourselves responsible for building tools that allow our users to control their own experience. Twitter is not a judge for resolving disputes over most content issues—our focus is on service.

    Technical Abuse and SPAM

    While our policy regarding content is mostly hands-off, we are strictly intolerant toward those who would subvert our intention to provide a utility for recipient-driven communication. Twitter will terminate accounts for a variety of technical abuse violations.

    That includes the above-mentioned follower spam problem as well as other means that degrade our service. For example, our service is degraded through the cross-posting of updates from multiple accounts as a way to get around the block and unfollow tools.

    Note: We have been paying close attention to these issues and as a result we are in the process of reviewing our Terms of Service. Our goal is to align our Terms of Service with the concerns of our users with an eye towards what we intend to enforce. We are also working to make this process more transparent.
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    • Thank you so much for your attention to this matter. I think it is safe to say we all enjoy twitter and only want to see the service improve.

      As for the the track feature, It would be great to have the option to choose if you want it to obey the block list or not. In our most recent TOS report case, if it had ignored the block list we may not have known that the abuse had continued for weeks on end. It's important for companies ot have the ability to track and monitor certain topics. So an option would be great!
    • "Twitter is not a judge for resolving disputes over most content issues—our focus is on service."
      Then you need to rewrite your terms of service, which presently outlaw "abuse and harassment".
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  • Thanks for sharing the Twitter position. I do not want to stifle free speech (ala @Foulbastard) and appreciate seeing your position.

    Thank you for weighing in on the topic.
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  • Re: "For example, the track feature does not currently obey the block list, but it should"

    No, it shouldn't. You need to review this, and think about the system-wide ramifications:

    o panicky, viral and hysterical spread of blocks on hitlists
    o mistaken judgements leading to block of people who are merely re-tweeting innocently stuff they find interesting
    o ultimately the problem of news aggregators not seeing people that have something to say merely because they could be acting on false block tips or irritated at criticism

    There are serious issues at stake here, and if you truly don't mean to become involved in user disputes or content, then don't. People can just not track their own names as a vanity feed if they are upset at those talking back. They can then use your existing tools to adjust the experience.
    • What if Twitter gave us a configuration to include or exclude blocked users from Track results? That way people can decide for themselves. Most people will probably choose to see the bad with the good but at least this way people would be able to turn off the noise if it becomes abusive or excessive. The only debate on this should be around what the default setting is.
    • That's slightly a better proposition but it still leaves open the problem of system wide insularity in which is supposed to be a tolerant conversation.
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  • I’m satisfied
    Thank you for clarifying the position.
    I know this solution will make some people unhappy - prokofy has already voiced her disappointment with this above - and will probably leave others with the feeling that it perhaps didn't go far enough.

    Either way, it's nice to at least have an official position from the company at this point.

    Thanks for letting us know what the company's position is at this point. It will be interesting to see what actions are taken (or not) as a result of this.
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    • No Geek Mommy... I mean Nazi Mommy... I will not be using Panopticons anymore. just a bunch of other people will. you might not hate them like me... but twitter is going like MySpace and with the exponential growth you will be dealing with a thousand Panopticons all of which will be a reminder of your pathetic hysteria
    • Noah, Noah, Noah.
      I'm so not sure what you're trying to do here.
      Is calling me names - unwarranted ones at that - going to fix whatever YOU see at the problem?
      In my experience - that never achieved any goal other than to piss off those who cared about your opinion of them.
      I don't know you from Adam - you are, often times, annoying - but intentionally. I just have yet to figure out what you think will result from that behavior... If there's anyone who has been employing "NazI" tactics, I'm afraid that would be you. I've done nothing to you whatsoever, yet you are now attacking me.
      That's not only bizarre, it's useless.
      And I'm not at all hysterical - you're a pale shadow of those who used to troll Usenet threatening others with doom and despair regularly...
      And yes, I'm sure you'll be "upping" your efforts due to the fact that I pointed that out.
      Sadly, I'm afraid you have nothing better to do.
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  • I’m hoping for a result
    Thank you Goldtoe.

    The refeeding of my and other peoples content into another account has been poisoning the rss feeds and metrics which I was using to locate conversations. This is not just about "has loudmouthman been mentioned" its been about how many times a word has been used. Since the accounts are recopying content verbatim I was seeing a reduction in the usefulness and validity of the scoring. As the account holder in question has not been a constructive and contributing member of the community I would like to see steps taken to reduce the impact on the positive and useful contributions of other members.

    Thank you for opening the thread and I look forward to a response from twitter in the near future.
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  • Loudmouthman, this is merely your subjective and narrow opinion, and you merely succeeded in gaming the system loudly much like the target of your wrath, injecting many biased and personal evaluations of this issue, regardless of whatever narrow merits it has as an information management stream issue.

    My RSS feed hasn't been "poisoned" by these creeps -- I ignore them. The angst about them is all out of proportion to the problem, and there's been no willingness to contemplate the implications system-wide of this much insularity and track-blocking crazyness.

    I hate the idea that a few people can decide what is "constructive and contributing". That's death. That's Soviet. I refuse to let *you* or mods dictate that.

    What YOU need to hear is that no, you didn't get your way, and any gloating you're doing is totally premature. Listen to what what said:

    "As a communication utility, Twitter does not get involved in disputes between users over issues of content except in very specific situations"

    That means that you can't hijack the mods of Twitter and convince them who is "constructive" or "contributing" in the manner only you and your posse imagine.

    "Twitter is not a judge for resolving disputes over most content issues—our focus is on service."

    That means you do not get to decide what is positive and enforce it on others -- it is a public service, your level of tolerance for criticism and dissent or annoyances simply cannot be allowed to lower the whole common denominator of Twitter for all.

    Here's the operative paragraph from this mod's ruling, and it's a narrower construct that you might imagine -- that is, it does not allow YOU to dictate who is " contributing" or "constructive" it merely deals with some very specifically defined behaviours that it judges as actions, not content:

    "While our policy regarding content is mostly hands-off, we are strictly intolerant toward those who would subvert our intention to provide a utility for recipient-driven communication. Twitter will terminate accounts for a variety of technical abuse violations.

    That includes the above-mentioned follower spam problem as well as other means that degrade our service. For example, our service is degraded through the cross-posting of updates from multiple accounts as a way to get around the block and unfollow tools."

    It's important to understand the real crime here. It's not being "negative". It's not twitting people's vanity and calling out their hypocrisy. It's not making smart or even vulgar remarks.

    This is the crime -- *hampering the ability of the service provider to provide the service. This is the crime: By creating numerous alts and cross-posting from multiple accounts, panopticons began to interfere with the functions of the service itself. Making an alt to get around a block of your direct Twitter feed is a classic griefing case that seems appropriately dealt with.

    When you mention "metrics which I was using to locate conversations," I can only stress the feeling many of us have about marketers and researchers and SEO scrapers on Twitter: the service is for public conversation; it's not merely to be minded for your own profit.
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  • I’m driven to distraction
    Is *repeatedly* sending the same update from 15 differrent accounts (within mere seconds) in any way "contributing" or "constructive"?

    I think not, but in any case I really need the option of blocking these from my track. It's causing so much noise it's hard to find the human tweets in-between.

    Blocking was my first action - only to find it didn't work.
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  • Marjolein, stop tracking yourself, and read in summize.com or tweetscan.com and scroll past the re-tweets. Once you stop tracking your own name, this problem will end for you. If you are not willing to do that, then don't expect it to end.
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  • I’m wishing people would READ before replying
    Prokofy,
    What on earth gave you the idea that I'm tracking *myself*? That would hardly be useful would it now? I'm quite willing to "stop" doing that, but I can't because I haven't even started (and I won't). Thanks for your friendly and helpful suggestion anyway.

    I am tracking a single word: 'accessibility'.

    Here's a sample of the semi-spam I'm getting as a result (I've had several occurrences of a batch like this) even *after* I've blocked all of these users - note the timing:

    [09:34:06] (onlineschool): Cal State System Raises Accessibility Concerns over Blackboard Online Learning Management System.

    [09:34:21] (homebasededu): Cal State System Raises Accessibility Concerns over Blackboard Online Learning Management System.

    [09:34:22] (distancelearn): Cal State System Raises Accessibility Concerns over Blackboard Online Learning Management System.

    [09:34:22] (educationprogra): Cal State System Raises Accessibility Concerns over Blackboard Online Learning Management System.

    [09:34:22] (distancecourses): Cal State System Raises Accessibility Concerns over Blackboard Online Learning Management System.

    [09:34:22] (degreeprogram): Cal State System Raises Accessibility Concerns over Blackboard Online Learning Management System.

    [09:34:22] (online_degree): Cal State System Raises Accessibility Concerns over Blackboard Online Learning Management System.

    [09:34:23] (freecollegeinfo): Cal State System Raises Accessibility Concerns over Blackboard Online Learning Management System.

    [09:34:23] (homebasedschool): Cal State System Raises Accessibility Concerns over Blackboard Online Learning Management System.

    [09:34:23] (fromhomeedu): Cal State System Raises Accessibility Concerns over Blackboard Online Learning Management System.

    [09:34:23] (homeschooledu): Cal State System Raises Accessibility Concerns over Blackboard Online Learning Management System.

    [09:34:23] (distanceschool): Cal State System Raises Accessibility Concerns over Blackboard Online Learning Management System.

    [09:34:24] (learningdistanc): Cal State System Raises Accessibility Concerns over Blackboard Online Learning Management System.

    [09:34:24] (schoolexpress): Cal State System Raises Accessibility Concerns over Blackboard Online Learning Management System.

    [09:34:24] (homeeducation): Cal State System Raises Accessibility Concerns over Blackboard Online Learning Management System.

    THIS is what I want to get rid of by being able to tell Twitter to apply 'block' to a track as well.
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  • Most of the people complaining about this problem are complaining *because they track their names in a vanity feed*. So it's reasonable to assume that *most people* are doing that.

    If you are in another, smaller category, following one word, great, but...when you search on Google, you also get lots of irrelevant things. You have to narrow your search. So I hardly think you can expect to follow a word and not get extraneous stuff.

    You can also just scroll past it. And if you have a phone message limit, just use track when you can sit down at a web site and scroll quickly past those words.

    While your individual needs to filter out your individual feed are understood, by encouraging massive use of block within track, you wind up creating a very controlled experience for everyone. For example, once you block "homeschooledu" you will never see again anything else they might say that is interesting. Block is a blunt axe.
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  • I’m irritated by the condescending tone
    Prokofy,
    No, it's not "reasonable" to assume that I'm tracking my name because I never said or even hinted anything of the sort. It is not "reasonable" that anyone jumping in here (after starting my own question before and then being pointed here) is "most people". What brought me here was a quote from goldtoe:
    "For example, the track feature does not currently obey the block list, but it should."

    I came here to make my case that indeed, it should - or at least it should be an option.

    Whether I can search on Google (I use Yahoo, btw) is of course completely beside the point because that will tell me what people have *written* about accessibility. It is in no way comparable to tracking a keyword on Twitter: tracking the term on Twitter tells me what people *talk* about wrt accessibility, what they are doing, what they are observing. This use of Twitter has already proved invaluable to me.

    There is no way to "narrow" that and no need to do so because I really do want to hear what people (not bots) are saying about accessibility.

    What I'm getting today is not simply "extraneous stuff" (I'm actually seeing very little of that) but a whole number of "people" (which lobviously are not people at all, but bots) all echoing each other (or the lead bot) *several times* with the same tweet. Each time Lead bot tweets again the same tweet, 14 Follow bots echo it. (Look at the timing!)

    If only one (real) person would have said that same thing, it *would* have been interesting, and not something to "filter out" at all. It's the repetition of batches of 15 times the same tweet that is the problem - not the actual content. It happened at least 5 times today - that's 75 times the same tweet and THAT is the problem. THAT is why I blocked those 15 bots (that's quite a lot of clicking to go through to get rid of that inane repetition!) in the first place, fully expecting that would solve the problem.

    Yes, I can "just scroll past it". Please don't tell me that my tools have scroll bars. I know that. I just don't want to see 75 repetitions of the same tweet in the first place because the *next* time this bot-complex happens to use the word "accessibility" again I'll see it *75 times* again. And apart from "just scrolling" I'll also have to edit my log file to bring it back into a state of usefulness which is a lot more work than "just scrolling past".

    There is no need to "encourage massive use" of block within track. Just give us the option of having a block apply to track - it's entirely natural to think that that a block WILL block and not "sorta" block. There's no need as far as I'm concerned to make it "absolutely" block - an option is all it would take. A simple checkbox for that purpose would not constitute "encouraging massive use"; the default could be off so it would encourage not to filter track.

    (There is also no need to encourage or even condone massive repetition by a bot cloud like this, which I feel *is* abuse. If you look at the timeline of each of those bots you'll see what I mean...)

    And yes, I fully realize that once I block any of those 15 bots I will never see anything else they say. I know what "block" means. That's MY choice for blocking - if I wanted to hear in general what they were saying I would be following them. I was blocking them because I don't want 75 repetitions of the same tweet and I fully realize that may mean I may miss 1 interesting one.

    All I want is the OPTION to have 'block' do what it says.
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  • It doesn't matter if you've "said or hinted" it is *what most people do*.

    And it's fine to do : )

    We were ALL brought here by the "problem" that "the track list does not obey the block" -- can you grasp that? That IS the problem for many people who happened to come to this thread (who are random, and do not represent "the community of Twitter" AND concern about the ramifications of such blanket blocking system-wide are also valid.

    We all get that batches of 15 repeats -- because many people are following the same sector/news I guess (although some of those accounts you reference seem like alts of the same thing).

    Surprise, surprise, a lot of human activity, once you start tracking it and recording it worldwide is going to turn out to be redundant.

    Scrolling past it is a good idea. You could also go back to Google, if you get upset by this much repetition. Because the alternative is to block/mute/ban people and news services that may be saying something important -- and duh, I do get that this doesn't block their *expression* as they can go on talking but it blocks their *ability to be heard* and that IS a legitimate public concern when you are dealing with people in power who have a duty to address grievances.

    It doesn't sound like the owners of Twitter are doing to ban bots -- bots always infuriate people, I totally get that. So, why *would* there be a "bot cloud" to push information about home schooling? Gosh, is this some evil gun-toting, bitter, turn-to-religion sort of plot by conservatives? I wonder!!!

    Be irritated all you want -- I'm not being condescending. I'm being matter-of-fat in tone and factual. The fact indeed *is* that you do not HAVE to be tracking this word, and you can indeed *scroll past* the problem bot patches.

    Rather than repeatedly getting irritated that you can't get your way, I invite you to try to think about the system as a whole, and what kind of conversation it is when there are so many people mass blocking everything right and left because they are "irritated".

    mdoeff, once again, the issue does indeed FOR SURE not only have to do with vanity feeds -- the people who initiated the thread and fueled the anger about the issue, loudmouthman and kosso, were the most irritated precisely because of their vanity feeds.

    And overwhelming insistence on "my right to track my favourite key word" also seems to be at stake here.

    I guess long years sitting alone reading the Internet has created a nation of very irritable, demanding, and entitlement-happy users, and bringing them into a joint public space like this infuriates them easily.

    Again, I totally "get" what this is about for people: their overwhelming insistence on fine-tuning their feed to be "just perfect" the way they want, without ever having to have the eye fall on an undesirable thing. I think this is a rising tide of expectations, however. I think even if you block track, you will not really be fully free of it. I think the block-happy approach also only fuels the desire to make little closed, vetted communities of likemindedness who never have to hear about anything outside their little circle.
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  • I’m wishing someone from Twitter would reply instead of people who seem to want to impose their own view and drown out everyone else
    Prokofy,

    You totally do NOT "get" what is at issue here. "Finetuning" does not even remotely describe what the issue is.

    Now shut up please, you're repeating yourself and I don't like your condescending tone.
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  • I’m thinking "troll"
    And yes I DO "have" to track the word "accessibility" because that's what I do and that's what I (mainly) use Twitter *for*. And it WORKS.
    Not everyone is here to play games, you know.
    • Everybody has a story. I have tracked words too. You are not special. And I'm glad you got work value of Twitter, but Twitter isn't just for you. Use Yahoo and Google news readers that deliver tracked articles into your mailbox if you want a more refined product. There is no need to nerf this one in the name of your fine-tuning. I fail to see why you get to keep repeating yourself, but if someone objects to you, they can't repeat themselves lol. I don't play games, either, dollface -- and your assumptions about that are ridiculous. I run an actual business in Second Life; I have actual RL jobs. Just because I chose to use a handle as a pen name from SL so that I don't have creeping stalkers harassing me more than they do doesn't mean I am somehow "playing a game". Get over your narrow concept of the Internet. And you and the others with this hectoring point of view are the condescenders, not me. I'm merely trying to point out broader, more conceptual concerns about a system with a lot of selfish blockers. If you don't care to zoom beyond your own little narrow usage of Twitter, that's fine, but don't impose this silo view on others.

      I reject the male geek concept of troll which is constantly used to suppress legitimate critical thought on forums. Get over it, we're not in a MMORPG all the time and we don't have to troll for newbies and suck up to GMS anymore, Twitter is a real service about the real world. Trolling is not a constitutional or defensible legal principle for suppression of speech; and yes, these private owners of social media will increasingly have to uphold constitutional guarantees when they gain millions of users and take up the responsibility of a public commons.
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  • I’m wondering why I still reply to a troll
    Prokofy,
    You simply don't have a clue what my "concept of the Internet" is. You don't have any grounds to say it is "narrow" (it's far from that).

    What on earth would "selfish blockers" do to Twitter? Have you actually READ goldtoe's post?

    "Our goal is to provide tools that allow people to enjoy the Twitter service in the way that makes sense to them."

    Now please explain what is selfish about actually *using* those tools, precisely as the Twitter creators intended.

    Tracking "accessibility" makes sense to ME, it WORKS for me, and it doesn't impact anyone else using Twitter.
    Blocking bots also makes sense to ME, it would not impact anyone else using Twitter. The problem here is DOESN'T work.

    (Now, Marjolein, stop feeding the trolls. - OK! I'll ignore it.)
    • Thanks, Marjolein! Excellent points. I like the idea of customizing services to meet customer needs in this way. That leads to accessibility and away from one-size-fits-all, Soviet-style fiats that encourage comrades to be happy with the hammer we've been given. We have the technology, we just have to figure out how to make it happen.
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  • I do have grounds to say it's narrow based on your abundantly clear posts here.

    Um, I read Goldtoe's post. He is not some absolute authority. He represents this third-party service, Get Satisfaction, hired by the Twitter developers to handle customer relations, so he is "interfacing" and rendering his understanding of the company policy -- but it's not the final word. The feature isn't operative precisely because obviously this is reviewed above his pay-grade.

    Re: ""Our goal is to provide tools that allow people to enjoy the Twitter service in the way that makes sense to them."

    This statement is, at one level, merely feel-good corporate speak, and at another level, an admonition to you to use the tools available to avoid seeing unwanted content -- and that means *don't use track on keywords that will turn up bunches of spam for you"

    I realize user self-restraint is an alien concept when you feel like doing something, yet, it's really more about "preventing a user rising tide of expectations".

    "Tracking "accessibility" makes sense to ME, it WORKS for me, and it doesn't impact anyone else using Twitter."

    But it's not working. You are getting too much unwanted content that you aren't willing to chill out about it. So it is *not* working, and all you are doing is then getting into entitlement mode demanding the system be changed to suit you.

    Tracking DOES impact the entire system. The entire reason that there are bots resorting to this now is precisely because of blocking behaviour. They wouldn't be trying to rise to people's attention again around blocks if it weren't for blocking behaviour which makes them adapt more and more crappy spam methods.

    They're also playing on people's vanity.

    Having millions of people in a system who assidously block others creates a system-wide, top-level problem of coherency and raises the spectre of suppression of the visibility of dissent. I realize you don't care about that. I do, as do others.

    "Blocking bots also makes sense to ME, it would not impact anyone else using Twitter. The problem here is DOESN'T work."

    Again, the problem is that you have decided that doesn't is "broken" when the answer is that "it is not there". So use a service like Profilactic which allows you to friend yet block elements of friends' feeds, etc.

    Your ability to block ANYTHING (and your subjective judgement of what a bot is) impacts the system when replicated as a typical behaviour.

    Um, "trolls" is a completely outdated and silly concept that is a hangover of The Well culture in Silicon Valley; and a leftover of MMORPG culture. You, even in the Netherlands, have imbibed it with your Internet mother's milk. But...it's not valid, and people with persistent criticism or who stick to their guns aren't necessarily bad, or even exhibiting the actual characteristics of "trollness" that people like you whine about. Stop feeding this *outdated concept* of troll, and grow up along with the rest of the Internet that is moving away from those geeky early adapter nerdy artifacts of culture and becoming more mainstream.
    • Hi Prokofy. @Goldtoe does not represent Get Satisfaction when he posts here in the Twitter forum. He represents Twitter and speaks on behalf of Twitter, as denoted by the "official rep" designation that appears next to his name. The "official rep" designation does not get displayed when he posts in the forums of other companies that also use the GetSatisfaction site.
    • Also, the 'above his pay grade' comment is a bit funny, considering who @goldtoe is.
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  • Mdy...and you are...?

    I'm not persuaded that he represents Twitter per se, but isn't merely the Twitter account manager in this third-party site hired by Twitter, speaking on its behalf to "manage the customers" that devs don't like managing. That's all. His "official rep" does NOT mean that he represents the *actual thinking of the devs*.

    You are suffering from Tigger syndrome -- a belief that interface agents sent out to manage you are people you have to accept as "the final say". They don't.

    Even if he "the real essential original Twitter representative" -- he's not the chief. There are those above his head. One needs to appeal to them.
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    • As you can see below, I've done further research, guided by my skepticism, lack of being persuaded by you, and innate curiosity and unwillingess to get into prostrate mode just because a dev speaks some start-up corporate-speak making it seem to some customers that their lobbying to nerf a feature is complete. This is an age-old story.

      And as you can see below, my persistence in reading up, studying, thinking has in fact proved my point: he is not any absolute authority. He is put off to customer management on here, which already lets us know he is not a prima dona in the code cave exclusively -- he's been sent out of the code cave to talk to the masses. He seems to be an amalgam of both within Getting Satisfaction and within Twitter, not sure how that diagram ties up. Again, let me repeat my question...and you are...???

      His role in this company is subordinate to the co-founders, who have not ruled yet. Now, they may have distributed decision-making or some other hippie kind of "future of work" crap going on in their company, we'll soon see, eh?

      Fact is: feature not implemented. I'll be willing to bet real money that they are really still arguing about this upstairs.

      End of story.
    • Does it matter who I am when all we're doing is talking about facts? I don't ask you who you are, nor do I need to know. I did not say that @goldtoe is an absolute authority at Twitter; I rarely use the word 'absolute' in conversation. Also, the assumption (or should I call it generalization?) below that I'm "a kid" is yet another statement that's a bit funny.
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  • I don't care if Goldtoe is Lord and Master of the Universe. There are those above his head. If they aren't in Twitter, even, perhaps they can be found in the legislators and courts of the state of California.

    Honestly, you kids are far too supine, and far too craven to these SF devs. They are just devs in a start-up, just geeks who hire people to manage you.

    Here's what his profile says:

    "Jason Goldman
    31 year old male Libra
    Location: San Francisco : California : United States
    Interests: flaming swords +2, underwater cartoon photography, pixels (e.g. green), toast, slime, warcraft"

    Um, gosh, I realize I don't count because I'm not at level 70 in WoW and I don't live in California, but I refuse to bow down to a 31-year-old male Librar named Jason and I don't care WHAT his job title is here, he is not implementing this feature and is not the final say on it.

    and if he would like me and others to take him more seriously, he needs to have a less goofy picture and description.

    More to the point, just Google Twitter and find out the top honchos:

    Jack Dorsey
    Biz Stone
    Evan Williams

    http://www.pbs.org/mediashift/2007/05...

    These are the co-founders. Read more here:
    http://blog.obvious.com/

    Here's what they say about him, showing his subordination to him, even though he's teh awesomeness:

    "Jason Goldman starting working for Pyra in 2002, shortly before we got acquired by Google, and went on to become product manager of Blogger. As I wrote about when he left Google six months ago, he kicked ass (even though it was sort of fluke that I hired him in the first place).

    This time I'm prepared. So after taking a few months off, I'm proud to say that Jason is once again working with Biz and I and (for the first time) the rest of the fabulous Obvious crew."

    Also there are investors, like Susan Wu.

    So, again, regardless of the kick-ass qualifications of whatever geek coder dude that puts his hand to "customer management," customers need not remain supine, subserviant fools staring up in awe at their mouths because we count just as much -- if not more! -- than they do in *user-generated social media*.

    That's why it's called SOCIAL MEDIA because it's NOT just about "freedom of the press belongs to him who owns one."
    • Do you really think a Twitter Product Manager would come on here talking about Twitter's position on such an important topic if he didn't have the support of Ev, Biz, and Jack? I'm going to go out on a limb and assume that they've had a few conversations about this at Twitter HQ and they're all on the same page. After all, there are only a handful of people working there. It's not like it's a big company where the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing. Just accept the fact that the track feature will be filtering out blocked users and move on please. There is no question that this is going to happen. And you might also want to apologize to @goldtoe for disrespecting him.
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  • Yes I do?

    And again, glad to see you're oh-so-plugged-in, mdoeff, likely living within jogging distance of the devs in SF, but hey, social media is *for everyone* not just you in the Valley. You'll have to accept that.

    Because they haven't weighed in. This is not a trivial issue. At stake is the nature of their whole concept of viral user-made social media.

    I see no evidence that they are "all on the same page". You know why? Because...this feature hasn't been put in yet. You still can't put blocks into track. Perhaps they are reviewing or coding or testing this but...there it is. It is not done yet.

    They solved the problem short-term by removing these panopticons accounts, but the issue of how/whether to put in this feature isn't done.

    I don't accept anything whatsoever and I don't plan to "move on" because I'm not required to move on by solving *your problem* with an opinion you don't like with a *forced migration policy* where I'm supposed to "get lost."

    I really don't care if they put this block in -- there will emerge other griefer-types who will get around it; there will also continue to be commentary like mine about the problem of wrongful blocks, and the long-term problem of insularity and distortion will remain.

    I haven't "dissed" Goldtoe -- this isn't a hierarchical mafia and we're not in a MMORPG. I don't even pay for this service. Perhaps he -- and you -- feel entitled to do whatever you want, for whatever arbitrary reasons, "just because," but members of the public are also free to fight back.

    Please, spare me the homilies, the tribalistic grooming behaviours -- it's a user-generated type of media, that means you'll have to accept you're on the platform with *other people* not just your posse.
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    • You're mistakenly saying I advocated not deleleting the panopticons accounts.

      To me, deleting those accounts or any others that begin to aggregate, make multiple bots, etc. are resource hog issues, and spamming issues quite properly dealt with by deletion as the obvious course.

      What I oppose is dealing with with this problem in the system by enabling track-block. That has ramifications as I've been explaining.
    • Ah. Okay, thanks for the clarification. My error, I apologize for misunderstanding the thrust of your arguments.
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  • I’m not quite understanding a few things, but happy that we have some form of answer on abuse.
    I am appreciative that goldtoe has made at least some statement on Twitter's policy. Thank you.

    Off topic a bit, I've been around on the internet for going on ten years and I've learned quite a bit. There are some things, however, that I don't know. I feel that if I understood what they actually meant, in plain no-nonsense (i.e. little words) English, I might have a better idea of what Prokofy is talking about.

    So, my root questions: what does it mean to track words/names on Twitter, and how is it accomplished. If I wanted to see it used practically, where would I go?

    Thanks, both to the group at large and goldtoe for the support.
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  • Some clarifications may be helpful here.

    1) Track is a feature that allows you to receive (via sms or im) all Twitter updates matching certain search terms. A common use is to track one's own name. This is useful to find replies directed at you from people you don't follow.

    More info is here : http://help.twitter.com/index.php?pg=...

    2) Currently, this feature does not respect the block list. That means that if you block a given user and they create an update with a phrase you track, it will still be delivered to you.

    3) We consider this a bug not a feature. It is our intention to change the track behavior such that it respects the block list. I don't have a specific timeline for implementation; it's not an easy change, technically. But if we could will it to be so, track would respect the block list.

    4) Hi. My name is Jason. I'm the product manager here at Twitter. We're a 16 person company so lots of people get a say in what our features should do and what our policies should be. In the case of the policy statement that started this post and our view about how track should work, it reflects the position of the company as a whole.

    Of course, we're also keen to know what our users think. Which is why we hang out here. And we want to be able to change our minds if we find out we've made a mistake.

    But, respectfully, even informed by the discussion in this thread we still think that the way block works now is wrong. Folks should be able to choose not to have content from specific users delivered to them.
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  • Goldtoe/Jason,

    Your point about 1) -- that it is useful -- begins to diminish when people began to massively and hysterically block.

    3) You may consider it a "bug" but it isn't, because it keeps the system open and transparent and accessible and viewable at many levels. Adding this "feature" is not something supported by all customers; it is not a showing of "all customers" just because a tiny percentage of forums-dwellers showed up here to clamour for it. Most people aren't even aware of the ramifications.

    Your "willing it to be so" is valid only in that you are a private company doing what you want. However, you'll increasingly have to realize your responsibility and status as a common carrier and as a provider of a public commons. And to the extent that you continue to privilege some kinds of communications over others (your friends, your geographical cohorts, your loudest customers on forums agitating you, etc.) you will find that this has ramifications for the whole society.

    4) That's great that you as product manager get "a lot of say" in this feature. But it sounds like you haven't thought of all the consequences, and the actuality you haven't thought about most of all is this: you didn't make it that way to start with, because you a) didn't think it was necessary and b) didn't realize you'd be dealing with so many vanity feeds c) wanted to encourage people's access to each other's streams to help it spread virally.

    The "folks" deciding not to have content delivered to them are more properly located with that wish in their own private email box, or in their own private corporate network, or in whatever other private club they are in with its doors and rules.

    Is Twitter a private club?

    If it becomes massively adapted (it may not scale to that, but let's dream) do you think it's right that a bunch of coders and their close personal friends in SF get to decide where and how the First Amendment plays out (parts one, two, and three of it), culturally and politically, in a context where old media is dying?

    A nation of track blockers with aggregating Valley A-listers blocking out criticism of them is a nation cut off from feedback, and that's not scientific. Surely that argument should have some merit with you as a purported computer science expert.
    • From http://twitter.com -- "Twitter is a service for friends, family, and co-workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing?"
    • All media becomes something different than what the framers imagined and is subject to a rising tide of emergent behavior. The first thing that happened is that 99 percent of the people using it do NOT state merely what they are doing at that moment (to do so would be to write boringly "I'm sitting on my computer or telephone doing nothing") but write *a thought* they have, or articulate *an opinion* or *provide a link to some other written piece on the Internet*.

      It is not a massive lifelogging system: as Scoble said about FriendFeed, it's a World Wide Talk Show where everyone is a producer and as opionated as they wish to be. (I'd call FF "The World Wide Show and Tell")

      Thus what has happened is that far from being some little lifelogger for your little posse at work or your little closeknit family circle, it has been a means by which all those more isolated circles in fact talk to larger circles of both likeminded and non-likeminded. It's a national and international conversation, or in some cases, a sectoral conversation, i.e. "all geeky lovers of apis" or "all camera lovers" or "all 20-somethings looking for a date" or "all educators using Second Life" or whatever. So it's very, very different than the original real-time IMing Facebook sort of system that the framers envisioned.
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  • Prokofy-

    I am constantly amazed at how you invoke fascism and sovietism when trying to back up your argument that people should use Twitter in a certain way that you deem acceptable.

    Do whatever you want with Twitter, but please stop trying to control the conversation with your incessant, overwhelming and unnecessary negative rhetoric which portrays you as the very type of bully that you are trying to rally against (even though I can't tell what you are rallying against whether it's here or on the Gillmor Gang).

    Go smell the flowers and consider the lilies.

    Sam
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  • The "a, b, c" list of options above (for why the system did not do this to start with) leaves out the obvious fourth choice, specifically:

    The company actually did put thought into the design of their system, but they did not identify every single way that someone might try to manipulate the system outside of its intended usage.

    This was, IMO, what happened in this case.

    Kudos to Twitter for recognizing the situation and acting up on it.
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  • Sam,

    I'm constantly amazed at your fake claim that I am somehow "imposing" my views on someone or "telling them how to use Twitter". I'm articulating my view firmly and I stand by it. I will continue to make the arguments for my view. You are apparently used to being rounded up and tribalized in your corporate or IT or geeky setting. I'm not : )

    I don't "control" the conversation, that's ludicruous -- that sort of comment comes from inside a horridly intolerant culture that hears a whisper as a shout because it is so used to conformity.

    I'm merely posting what I think like anybody else here. Some people have spammed enormous lists of the spam itself, and put up the most hateful and idiotic stuff here. Uh, where's your over-sensitive concern about them "tryinging to take over" and "bullying"? I'm not required to stop speaking just because you find anyone speaking that disagrees with you firmly as "controlling". You're trying to control yourself lol

    Let me suggest that you can't tell what I'm rallying against because you are deeply imbued in it yourself: an insular culture that brooks no dissent and is as thin-skinned as a Mac Air, imagining bullies everywhere when people outside their magic circle turn up. Again, try to zoom out and think of the system as a whole rather than wresting a public space into your private email box.

    sorenj, you are imagining things. And any coder of any social media or even Web 1.0 website understands what spam and self-replication is and this story is as old as the hills and always planned for in these systems.
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  • I’m in a very good mood
    mdoeff and eMOM, I hope you don't mind.... I grabbed your "give users the option to choose if Track will work in their Blocks" idea and started a new topic:

    Can the Block feature be redesigned to be more precise and more forgiving?
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  • I’m ecstatic
    awesome thanks! Been waiting for block to work against track for along time.

    I want to track 'breaking news' but there is so much garbage coming through!!!

    Very much needed bug fix.

    Thanks again!
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  • I’m Going Crazy Here!
    Okay, I would love all the upcoming features, but for now!

    Could somebody stop lejddfr (www.twitter.com/lejddfr)

    Its a crazy bot posting the same thing per minute basis.
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  • I’m brightening
    PS: we review the spam reports every day. Spam busting is a company-wide favorite thing to these days :)
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  • I’m amused
    this forum is a farce.
    Your company has led many to believe that you are not censoring. this implies some kind of inherent science to your methods. Censorship is your right as a part of private property. Your social network is your property, but you set a precedent for people to leave. They will, especially with all the downtime your company has had as of late. Your delusional if you think you are above some censorial duty. (The argument that you are a monopolizing government that should not censor except in threatening cases is valid, but I will not use this here for a sake of argument because the accusation of a monopoly has not been proven yet.) I expect you to censor. I also expect there to be a backlash against you if you do without reasonable doubt of physical harm. you claim I have broken the architecture, but if so then you have to disable @chrisbrogan 's account because he is the one who theorized of the possibility of "panopticons". Another slippery slope. Certainly your architecture needs to be open enough with freedoms so that people can practice free will, but if this is so then twitter needs to stop being a coward and elaborate on what architecture abuse is. (and before you delete the accounts... not afterwords! shame on you!) At a certain point you are passing judgment with discretion. just now on this page I used foul inappropriate language, but I used it in the context of the forum here. There is no consistent method to this. The fact that you think there is, is a huge problem! Yes you can delete my accounts... but this is not the end of this. The pandora box has just opened and if you do not elaborate and detail exact situations of abuse then the only person who is guilty of breaking your architecture is yourselves. Tell your buddies at twitter and co. that I am making my next campaign an education on how to build another "panopticons". Now there will not be one, but rather many. Your error will now be viral. Next time do your company a favor and include the alleged in your thought process. In courts both parties have to keep each other informed of what information is at hand. (witnesses, evidence, etc.) It is hard to take a company seriously about they're pretensions of free speech without the transparency. your no better then any other social network. you seem to think your farts smell better. We all do.
    this is a comment here
    http://getsatisfaction.com/twitter/to...

    comments are also here:
    http://simonstudiotheatre.blogspot.co...

    http://simonstudiotheatre.blogspot.co...
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