Is a family-friendly Tumblr possible?

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Starting on December 17, the social media site Tumblr will implement new rules to block adult content. But defining obscenity hasn’t gotten any easier . . . and this was one of the most nudity- and pornography-tolerant social networks out there. This odd choice will spectacularly destroy Tumblr, and reveal once again how platforms always … Continued

Vehemently meaningless

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Next time you hear that someone is “vehemently” denying that they did something, ask yourself — how is that different from a regular denial? Here’s a thought experiment. There are two politicians. Both are accused of taking bribes. Allan says he denies taking the bribes. Bertrand vehemently denies taking the bribes. Which one do you … Continued

Antipodes Pride’s pusillanimous, passive, pointless police press release

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The Auckland, New Zealand police and Auckland Pride, an LGBTQ support organization, were unable to come to an agreement about police marching in the Pride parade. They did, however, produce one of the most oblique, passive, and ultimately pointless media releases ever posted. This is what happens when you’re not sure what to say, but … Continued

The danger of metrics: how the Bill James comments dehumanize baseball players

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Bill James, the inventor of the baseball analytical method sabermetrics, controversially tweeted that baseball players could easily be replaced with no effect on the game. This prompted a swift and outraged reaction from players. It also raises a larger point — should businesses focus primarily on metrics, or on people? James was in a Twitter … Continued

Can Facebook block lies about voting?

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In the US, the midterm election day is one week from today, November 6. Facebook says it will ban misinformation on voting. If you find this news item encouraging, allow me to discourage you. First off, the ban is limited in scope. Facebook is not banning fake news (as if such a thing were possible) … Continued

Are transgender people people?

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Someone you know is transgender. They deserve to be treated like a human. Look. My job here is normally to pick apart public statements by people, to show you how things can be written better. I try not to get into taking political positions. But I am making an exception today. If this bothers you, … Continued