Weekly Web Harvest for 2017-02-26
- My FreeCell Win Percentage is All I Have – McSweeney’s Internet Tendency
The events of 2016 and ensuing chaos that seems to be 2017 have destroyed every illusion of control I thought I had over my life. So no, I do not think I’m placing too much weight on the value of my FreeCell win percentage, thank you very much.
- This site is “taking the edge off rant mode” by making readers pass a quiz before commenting » Nieman Journalism Lab
Digital security is a controversial topic, and the conversation around security issues can become heated. But the conversation in the comments of the article was respectful and productive: Commenters shared links to books and other research, asked clarifying questions, and offered constructive feedback.
The team at NRKbeta attributes the civil tenor of its comments to a feature it introduced last month. On some stories, potential commenters are now required to answer three basic multiple-choice questions about the article before they’re allowed to post a comment. (For instance, in the digital surveillance story: “What does DGF stand for?”)
- Exploring the world of digital detoxing | The Policy and Internet Blog
The analogy between sugary, salty, or fatty foods and seductive technologies is drawn a lot — it was even made by danah boyd in 2009. Digital detoxing comes from a standpoint that tech companies aren’t necessarily working to enable meaningful connection, and are instead aiming to “hook” people in. That’s often compared to food companies that exist to make a profit rather than improve your individual nutrition, using whatever salt, sugar, flavourings, or packaging they have at their disposal to make you keep coming back.
There are two different ways of “fixing” perceived problems with tech: there’s technical fixes that might only let you use the site for certain amounts of time, or re-designing it so that it’s less seductive; then there’s normative fixes, which could be on an individual level deciding to make a change, or even society wide, like the French labour law giving the “right to disconnect” from work emails on evenings and weekends.
One that sort of embodies both of these is The Time Well Spent project, run by Tristan Harris and the OII’s James Williams. They suggest different metrics for tech platforms, such as how well they enable good experiences away from the computer altogether. Like organic food stickers, they’ve suggested putting a stamp on websites whose companies have these different metrics. That could encourage people to demand better online experiences, and encourage tech companies to design accordingly.
- Musical Chord Progression Arpeggiator
This is straight amazing.
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