Note: there are some World Cup spoilers from matches up through Mexico vs. Poland, so make sure you're caught up with the results before reading.
I had initially planned to write some snarky stuff in this newsletter about how badly Elon was screwing up the Twitter acquisition, and that bootlicker who offered to gather up some dudes to help save the Twitter infra. But then Elon reinstated Trump's account, which severely depleted my ability to laugh at this situation.
Many of us knew Elon would try to get Trump back on the platform, but I expected him to at least pantomime the content management panel that he promised would make these decisions. When I saw him run the Twitter poll, I knew what the result would be. Elon has also let some other terrible people back on Twitter, like Richard Spencer and Libs of TikTok.
I have a lot of friends who immediately checked out when they saw the news. Some have deleted their accounts, and others have just locked them and stopped posting, so they won't be impersonated.
I've been thinking a lot about what to do, and my answer for now is to reduce my participation but not leave entirely. The first reason for me to stay is that I want to maintain my voice there and my ability to criticize what's happening.
The other reason is that I haven't seen many of my Black friends in tech make it over to Mastodon. That's not a coincidence. There have been several cases of extremely bad moderation on the large Mastodon instances that could be interpreted as racist or, in the best case, extremely poor training. Eugen Rochko from Mastodon has explained them as "false positives" that are "upsetting and unacceptable." He said they are due to the large number of reports the team is receiving. The thing about his explanation, though, is that it doesn't eliminate racism as at least one of the contributing factors.
The power of server admins and moderators is one of the reasons I was initially skeptical about using Mastodon. It also seems that, much like cryptocurrencies, a lot of the folks who participated in Mastodon before it was in fashion were libertarians, a philosophy that I have no love for. In that thread of Eugen's, one Mastodon user suggested to me that Black people who are unhappy should just make their own server. Problem solved, right? Yay, decentralization.
I'm still trying to figure out what I'll do. For now I will stick around while I see how things evolve, but the reality is that my desire to be there is much less than before even a week ago, and I expect things will get much worse. Hang onto my Linktree link; I will keep it current with places where you can find me (including Mastodon).
The World Cup
I was feeling fried from the last month of work and decided to take a last-minute staycation, so I will have a lot of time to watch football this week. I'm on my third World Cup match of the day, and I'm very much enjoying it. England were so dominant in their first match, and one of my favorite Arsenal players, Bukayo Saka, scored two goals. Another big highlight was Saudi Arabia's upset of Argentina, which I expect will spawn some conspiracy theories about FIFA referee corruption (a thing that has actually happened in the past).
The location of this World Cup, Qatar, very much tempers my enthusiasm for the matches. Between the horrific treatment of LGBTQ+ folks there and the reported 6500 migrant workers who died building the stadiums, it's a monstrous choice for the location. There are some serious corruption allegations around that choice too.
Many people are boycotting the event. I wouldn't spend money to support it, but I am watching the matches. If you're in the same spot as me and watching with some reluctance, the Guardian's Football Weekly podcast is doing an excellent job of covering the event while also digging into the reasons why Qatar was such a terrible choice.
I've been playing Marvel Snap, an entertaining card game by one of the creators of Hearthstone. I will likely talk more about the game here at some point, but I wanted to mention that I will be streaming some of it on Twitch this week if you'd like to come hang out. Follow me on Twitch to get notified when I'm online.