Monday, November 28, 2016

To Gab or not to Gab?

I recently left Twitter for Gab. Unfortunately, I've gone back to Twitter as Gab has seriously disappointed me. I reserve the right to be critical of Gab and think it cannot improve without dissenting voices. Here's a rundown of everything I think is wrong with Gab:

  • To begin with, there was a lot of drama back in October involving this user. I was never able to figure out what went on exactly, but it seems there was a dispute between the founders of Gab and this user over his/her contribution to Gab. Some of the comments by one of the founders Ekrem Büyükkaya · @e were immature and strange coming from a founder. Here are some that haven't been deleted yet. Post1 Post2 Post3 Post4 (Screenshots below).What happened between these users exactly? Did a user contribute and get pushed out? A lot of questions were raised at the time and the only viewpoint which seems to have survived is that of the founders. This disturbed me then and still does.
  • It's essentially an 'alt-right echo chamber'. The 'popular' posts section is a daily recount of mostly the same users' posts about 'alt-right' topics. There are some good folks on Gab, don't get me wrong, but why should Gab users endure more Jew hatred (for example) by Gab 'verified' users who are followed by the founder? I'm waiting for people like @Pamela to speak up on Gab about their verification as it's no better, imo, than the Muslim Brotherhood being verified on Twitter. The fact that users who post such nonsense are 'verified' and so popular speaks volumes. And yes, I know we can mute such users and ignore them. Fine, if that's your solution then don't follow the Muslim Brotherhood on Twitter and don't complain that they've been verified by Twitter. Put up or shut up.
  • Gab features Reddit-style up-voting and down-voting. So they've imported everything wrong with sites like Reddit, features which are great for 12 year olds but terrible for adults. And what's more, when you go to any section (News/Politics, etc.) you don't see the most recent posts first but those that have been up-voted. Essentially making it impossible for users with little exposure to get more exposure. Again, it's an echo chamber much like Reddit. (Strangely, the popular posts don't follow this strictly, and intersperse posts with less down-votes among those with many up-votes. How does this work? Who knows!?)
  • Gab also features Twitter-style muting. I've hated muting since it appeared at Twitter because it's a permanent muting state. My question is, what's the point of being able to follow someone but never see their posts? There is none. I'd be fine with a temporary mute for when someone's on a post-bender, but permanent muting is just stupid. Un-follow someone if you don't like what they have to say. 
  • The stupid EULA that was pushed out recently which stipulates that any suggestions made by users become the property of Gab, Inc (or whatever the legal entity is). Come on.
Overall I admire Gab's efforts, and the idea. Unfortunately the execution on those ideas has developed a platform that essentially exists to hear itself speak. I'm not sure how you draw other voices into a platform like Gab without making some fundamental changes.

I'll hang around and peek in periodically to see what happens. But I honestly don't enjoy Gab all that much for the reasons above. And I'm sure the founders will respond to these kinds of criticisms by saying that I'm welcome to leave the platform if I don't like it, and that's fair. But I've noticed how thirsty they seem to be to gain more non-right-ish followers so they can not be labeled as the 'alt-right echo chamber'. Well, guys, welcome to reality: if you put shit on a table, no one eats. That's the deal.