It feels hollower

Per: Nick Nicholas’ answer to Do you believe Quora moderation is doing a good and responsible job of maintaining this site’s policies? Why or why not?

I unplugged myself in disgust a few days ago, after Sierra Spaulding felt she had to unplug herself. Right after the trifecta of Habib Fanny being unplugged, Jeremy Markeith Thompson being unplugged WHILE he’d unplugged himself, and Michael Masiello being unplugged. It was too much at once for me to ignore.

I kept peeking in while I was out, because I’m too severely addicted. This is actually not a good thing, and I’m going to work on ways to reduce the amount of time I spend here; I do have other shit to be doing. I’ve had a chat to Sierra, I’ve calmed down somewhat, I realised that if I kept peeking in, I wasn’t really unplugging, so, fine. I’m back. Kinda.

I hope that Sierra, and Habib, and Jeremy, and Michael, and all the others whose voices I have come to appreciate, stay. But more than that, I hope that they are validated by their stay.

And more than that still, I hope they stay safe. If staying safe means they disable comments, or leave Quora and find a worthier space for them, then let them care for themselves more than they care for a bunch of people on the Internet.

Quora has been even less the same for me this past month, as the two voices I have come to cherish the most here, Michael Masiello’s and Dimitra Triantafyllidou’s, have been stilled—Dimitra because she actually has stuff in real life to deal with, Michael because he was shut down, and so were his friends.

To be brutal, having my friends out of my feed has allowed me to connect with new voices; the feed is harsh like that. But it hasn’t felt the same for me. I mean no insult to those I’ve started following the past month; there’s a reason I have, and I look forward to getting to know them even better. But it feels hollower for me here.

Other than that, the fight continues. I continue to hold the Mods of Quora, be they animal, vegetable, or mineral, in contempt—once again, not for any scuffle I’ve had (yet): but for my friends, for those of my tribe. Those who say Quora’s BNBR is working, I’ll say it now openly, I have no traffic with: they are not of my tribe.

Quora’s implementation of BNBR isn’t working. People are being hurt. They are being hurt by simultaneously robotic and sluggish applications of the rules, that punish the innocent and ignore the guilty (until bad publicity intervenes).

In Real Life, the Law is pretty damn sluggish as well; but it is not administered by Machine Learning bots and third party contractors and some corporate complaints inbox. It is administered by juries and judges, who are meant to understand not just the letter of the Law, but its spirit. Not just the infractions, but the context. Not just the penalty, but the greater good. And those juries and judges are subject to transparency and review, not corporate silence and deflection.

Yeah, yeah, Quora is a private company, and here at Quora our mission is to share and grow the world’s knowledge, and if you don’t like the rules there’s the door, and whatever happened to Charlie Cheever, and blah blah blah.

Well done, Quora Inc. Let me know when you take over from Google and Wikipedia. And when you’re planning to monetise what, while you’re at it.

But spare me the claims that this is a safe space, and BNBR made it so. Don’t piss on my shoes and tell me it’s raining. With you, Quora Inc, I have no traffic. My traffic is with the Quorans.

Thank you to my friends who have wished me well: La Gigi and Magister Michael and Z-Kat and Khateeb. Thank you to the usual suspects who upvoted me while I was away, because they agreed, or because they are my friends. Thank you to those who have entertained me, and to those I have learned from, and to those I may have even taught a factoid.

And thank you to my Quora Master Scott, for helping the scales fall from my eyes.

I’ll be scarcer here, at least for a while: I do after all need to cut down on the addiction. I’ll stick around while I can bear to. Wiser, and sadder.

For that, at least, I do thank Quora Inc.

The fight continues.