Refusing Rating

writing blog phil web

published 2020-12-13 16:41

updated 2020-12-13 16:41

I won't like, subscribe, comment, hit the bell icon, give 5 stars, a thumbs up, or other form of feedback. I'm sorry, I know it's helpful for your platform on . Even if I liked whatever service or content you provided, I (probably) still won't do it. I won't feed the data machine. It does not need more data. The aggregate effects of better calibrated surveillance apparatus are just worse for everyone. It will only grant the entrenched system more power. Metrics cease to be useful when they become goals, and doesn't know what else to do with metrics.

Living in the modern world requires compromises, which is why I am using the platform (and have the ability to leave a signal in the first place), but I see minimizing participation as beneficial. will still collect some unavoidable data from my interactions with them, and use this data for whatever they see fit. may also already have all your past data, but that doesn't justify handing over a continuous feed. Stop using the gambler's fallacy in regards to data privacy.

  • Not drip feeds of ego-boosting like notifications.
  • Not gated communities built out of follower counts and verified check marks.
  • Not laser focused optimization of product ranking, and user {att,re}tention

I won't engage in these.

Instead, where appropriate I will engage in:

  • Personal recounts of similar experiences
  • Asking or answering questions and learning more
  • Expressing appreciation explicitly
  • Constructive criticism without being mean
  • Ambient support

You want signals? Make them humane, understand the context. Leave messages of collaboration. Refuse parasocial relationships. Make the data open, playful, and in service of the people to which that data belongs. Technology alone won't solve social problems, and in many cases will exacerbate them. Metrics are for systems not people. Reactions aren't signs of support. I will try to minimize the power these signals possess.